Posted January 16, 2015
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that more than $370 million in Federal funding as part of the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), according to a USDA release available here. Farm Futures also published an article available hereand Huffington Post here.
RCPP will benefit 115 projects across all 50 states including Puerto Rico. The program will also leverage a total of up to $800 million in partner contributions to improve the nation’s water quality, support wildlife habitat, and enhance the environment.
“This is an entirely new approach to conservation efforts,” said Vilsack. “These partnerships empower communities to set priorities and lead the way on conservation efforts important for their region. They also encourage private sector investment so we can make an impact that’s well beyond what the Federal government could accomplish on its own. We’re giving private companies, local communities, and other non-government partners a way to invest in a new era in conservation that ultimately benefits us all. These efforts keep our land resilient and water clean, and promote economic growth in agriculture, construction, tourism, outdoor recreation, and other industries.”
Jason Weller, chief of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, compared the program to a venture capitalist model, according to Farm Futures.
“RCPP puts our partners in the driver’s seat. Projects are led locally, and demonstrate the value of strong public-private partnerships that deliver solutions to natural resource challenges,” said Weller.
The program will boost the rural economy, by supporting contractors and small businesses, according to Huffington Post.
“Some of the largest investments our country will make for land and water conservation are through the farm bill,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, former chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee.
For more information on farm bills, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.