USDA Marks New Era for Conservation Efforts

Cindy ZimmermanAudio, Conservation, USDA

usda-logoAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced 115 new projects in all 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will receive more than $370 million in Federal funding as part of the new USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

“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.”

Making the announcement with Vilsack was Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller. “RCPP puts our partners in the driver’s seat,” said Weller. “Projects are led locally, and demonstrate the value of strong public-private partnerships that deliver solutions to natural resource challenges.”

Listen to Vilsack and Weller talk about the new projects: [wpaudio url=”″ text=”USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program”]

RCPP competitively awards funds to conservation projects designed by local partners specifically for their region. Eligible partners include private companies, universities, non-profit organizations, local and tribal governments and others joining with agricultural and conservation organizations and producers to invest money, manpower and materials to their proposed initiatives. A complete list of the projects and their descriptions is available on the NRCS website.