Wednesday, March 18, 2020

NRCS-PA Accepting Regional Conservation Partnership Proposals

On March 18, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced it is accepting proposals from partners through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program to address natural resource concerns at local, regional, and landscape scales through May 18.
Through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program’s Alternative Funding Arrangements, NRCS will invest up to $50 million to fund up to 15 projects in which partners will be given greater liberty to manage an RCPP project and the associated relationships with participating producers and landowners.
“We’re excited to co-invest with partners in ways that more fully leverage the flexibilities of the RCPP program,” said Matthew Lohr, Chief of NRCS. “These alternative funding arrangements allow partners to propose solutions to conservation challenges that might be a little more out of the box than we’ve been able to try before. It’s an opportunity for our partners to step up and deliver conservation in new and perhaps more efficient and effective ways.”
NRCS will execute AFAs through agreements with eligible lead partners. Lead partners will be responsible for contracting directly with eligible producers and landowners to implement conservation activities on the ground.
Farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners access RCPP through partner entities, like conservation districts, producer associations, water districts, state or local governments, American Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, and nongovernmental organizations.
While AFA projects were authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill, the 2018 Farm Bill enhanced the AFA provision. The Farm Bill statute highlights some project types that may be particularly suited to AFAs:
-- Projects that use innovative approaches to leverage the federal investment in conservation;
-- Projects that deploy a pay-for-performance conservation approach; and,
-- Projects that seek large-scale infrastructure investment that generate conservation benefits for agricultural producers and nonindustrial private forest owners.
RCPP projects range from a minimum of $250,000 to a maximum of $10 million.
AFA project proposals must be submitted through the RCPP portal.
For more information on the program, visit the NRCS  Regional Conservation Partnership Program webpage.
For more information on services to farmers and landowners, visit the NRCS-PA webpage.
[Posted: March 18, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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