The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a national investment of $330 million in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability, including the Rocky Fork Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
Producers are encouraged to apply for RCPP project funding at their local NRCS office. Applications are taken on a continuous basis. However, interested parties are encouraged to contact their local NRCS service center prior to the Jan. 14, 2022 sign-up deadline for fiscal year 2022 funding.
RCPP is a voluntary conservation program which helps producers make conservation work for them. NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices.
Producers must meet project eligibility requirements, including location: Rocky Fork RCPP: Highland Soil and Water Conservation District and five local state and federal partners are working with producers and landowners to protect water quality, reduce soil erosion, and provide habitat for at-risk species in the Rocky Fork Watershed. The partnership will help producers implement cover crops, field borders, and filter strips to reduce soil erosion and nutrient runoff, helping alleviate algal blooms in Rocky Fork Lake.
Through conservation practices and partnerships, including those through RCPP, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, producers and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and its agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local and tribal governments.
To participate in USDA conservation programs, contact your local NRCS conservationist as soon as possible. Be sure to check the status of your service center when you reach out. For offices with restrictions on in-person appointments, they are still available by phone, email and through other digital tools. Your service center’s status is available at https://www.farmers.gov/working-with-us/service-center-locator.
Visit Ohio NRCS website under “EQIP Funding Categories” for more details. To learn more about EQIP or other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or contact your local USDA Service Center.
Submitted by Pam Bushelman, Highland SWCD district operations manager.