USDA's new Regional Conservation Partnership Program – which brings together businesses, tribes, communities and other non-government partners to invest in conservation efforts – has drawn an overwhelming response from partners across the nation, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday.
Nearly 5,000 organizations partnered together to submit nearly 600 pre-proposals by the July deadline.
Vilsack said the program is new approach to conservation that leverages private support.
"By establishing new public-private partnerships, we can have an impact that's well beyond what the Federal government could accomplish on its own. And we put our partners in the driver's seat, allowing them to find creative solutions to the conservation issues in their local areas," he said in a USDA statement. "The overwhelming response to this new effort illustrates an eagerness across country to partner and invest in innovative conservation projects."
The RCPP will allow USDA to partner with third parties or work directly with producers in watersheds and other critical conservation areas to leverage private sector funding to maximize conservation investments.
USDA has invested more than $12.5 billion in Farm Bill conservation programs since 2009. USDA says RCCP is also one way that the National Drought Resilience Partnership can support state, local and tribal efforts to plan and manage for long term drought resilience.
To learn about technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit the NRCS website.