Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog. See the original post here.
When USDA unveiled the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program last year, I said that this effort would pioneer a new era of conservation. As of today, the program is doing just that — leveraging an unprecedented three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar investment in projects to preserve clean land and water and create new jobs across the country.
One of the innovative programs in the 2014 Farm Bill, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program brings a wide variety of new partners together — from private businesses, to universities, to local and tribal governments, to non-profit organizations and more — to develop their own action plans and to pledge their own resources to the project. Local organizations are in the driver’s seat, setting priorities and developing conservation projects that make sense for their communities.
The response to this new approach to conservation projects was overwhelming. Earlier this year, when local partnerships submitted their plans to USDA, they requested more than six times the amount of available funding in the first round. This incredible response is a call to action and it shows how much need there is for a program like RCPP.