U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden joined Maryland conservation leaders at Terra Rubra Farms in Carroll County Tuesday yesterday to announce the program.
"There's new money on the table," said Harden.
RCPP is a $235 million grant program that competitively awards funds for conservation projects, Harden said. Producers and land owners of agricultural land and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.
The projects will be designed by partnerships that will also invest their own funding and manpower alongside USDA's investment. These partnerships allow the federal government and local leaders to work together and pool resources to maximize their impact. Grant proposals are due July 8.
Dr. Terron Hillsman, Maryland state conservationist, said the Mason-Dixon Working Lands Partnership received funding from the first round of RCPP. The partnership teamed USDA NRCS with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Stroud Water Research Center. They used the funding to provide outreach, technical assistance and financial assistance to landowners who want to install forests along their streams.
"The first place to contact is your local NRCS office," said Eric Sprague, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay's program director. "They do a very good job of matching partners."