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USDA Expands CRP, Announces RCPP Funding
In late April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced expanded investments in key conservation programs. The Department put increased emphasis back on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with a goal of enrolling up to 4 million new acres in the program by increasing payment rates and providing new incentives. In addition, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced on April 26 that it was providing $330 million in funding for 85 collaborative conservation projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The announcements are intended to help engage agriculture and forestry conservation as part of this Administration’s efforts to address climate change.
“Sometimes the best solutions are right in front of you. With CRP, the United States has one of the world’s most successful voluntary conservation programs. We need to invest in CRP and let it do what it does best—preserve topsoil, sequester carbon, and reduce the impacts of climate change,” said Vilsack. “We also recognize that we can’t do it alone. At the White House Climate Leaders Summit this week, we will engage leaders from all around the world to partner with us on addressing climate change. Here at home, we’re working in partnership with producers and local organizations through USDA programs to bring new voices and communities to the table to help combat climate change.”
The RCPP projects provide Farm Bill funding for public-private partnerships addressing critical conservation issues on private lands. The federal funding is leveraged by partner investments resulting in an additional $440 million applied to the selected projects. According to the press release:
“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air and water. 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 our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local and Tribal governments.”