Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that up to $52.4 million in financial assistance is available for competitive grants to protect the nation’s natural resources through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI). USDA has allocated $5.8 million in financial assistance for multi-state and national projects that offer innovative approaches to working with socially disadvantaged, beginning or limited resource farmers and ranchers and help further enhance conservation outcomes on agricultural lands and private non-industrial forest lands.
“President Obama is particularly interested in using partnerships to pursue innovative ways to increase our nation’s renewable energy production and reduce the effects of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions,” Vilsack said. “This program offers many opportunities to help landowners and operators seek new ways to remain profitable, such as participating in markets that reward them for sequestering carbon and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.”
Proposals for state projects must be submitted to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist by April 23. Applications for projects within the state will be considered for funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Wildlife Incentives Program (WHIP). Multi-state and national projects must be submitted to the Chief, USDA-NRCS National Office in Washington, D.C. by April 23, 2009.
Administered by NRCS, CCPI, a voluntary initiative, allows landowners and operators of agricultural and non-industrial private forest lands to use selected conservation programs and resources from eligible partners to put conservation on the land. Under this program, NRCS enters into agreements with eligible partners that want to enhance conservation on agricultural and non-industrial private forest lands. Partners include federally recognized American Indian tribes, state and local units of governments, producer associations, farmer cooperatives, colleges and universities and non-governmental organizations with a history of working closely with producers. A producer’s land must be located within an approved CCPI project area to be considered for financial assistance through CCPI. In fiscal year 2009, producers can apply for financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program. Individual producers cannot submit a partner proposal.
Additional details about the CCPI Request for Proposals can be viewed here.