USDA is seeking proposals to fund up to $75 million in new projects under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program’s (RCPP) Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA), prioritizing projects related to climate smart agriculture and forestry.  NRCS will fund up to 15 projects this year through AFA, where partners have more flexibility in working directly with agricultural producers to support the development of new conservation structures and approaches that would not otherwise be effectively implemented through the classic RCPP, the agency notes. “Collaboration and partnership are leading to advanced conservation delivery on working lands, both rural and urban,” said Terry Cosby, Acting Chief of NRCS. “We want to continue funding projects that harness the power of partnership and innovation to develop solutions that benefit producers while conserving our natural resources.” A significant portion of funds will address projects related to climate smart agriculture and forestry. These include projects related to carbon markets and new technologies. Meanwhile NRCS also strongly encourages proposals from RCPP projects that address the conservation needs of urban farmers in metropolitan areas, supporting access to healthy fresh food in historically underserved communities. NRCS is accepting AFA project proposals through May 28. Information about this request for proposals is available on . A list of last year’s awarded projects can be found here. Farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners apply for RCPP projects through project partners, like conservation districts, producer associations, water districts, state or local governments, American Indian tribes, institutions of higher education and nongovernmental organizations.

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