July 12, 2010
On Friday, July 9, USDA announced the award of $6.6 million in FY2010 conservation funding for 26 Conservation Cooperative Partnership Initiative (CCPI) projects in 15 states. In addition, 4 projects were awarded $1.3 million under the special Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative of the CCPI.
The CCPI supports special state and regional conservation projects that involve groups of farmers or ranchers in partnership with USDA, farm, conservation and other non-governmental organizations, state and tribal agencies, and other entities. To implement the Initiative, the 2008 Farm Bill directs USDA to reserve 6 percent of the total funds or total acres for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2012, from the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program. CCPI funding is available for farmers and ranchers to enroll in the appropriate conservation program to meet the goals of the CCPI project within the geographic area specified in the project.
The CCPI ensures specific attention to state and local conservation priorities and concerns, with 90 percent of the funds and acres reserved for projects chosen by the NRCS State Conservationist, in consultation with the NRCS State Technical Committees. The USDA Secretary is directed to use the remaining 10 percent of the funding for multi-state CCPI projects selected through a national competitive process. Project partnership agreements with USDA can run for up to 5 years.
In this round of FY2010 funding, two projects are multi-state projects approved at the national level. One multistate project will provide farmers and ranchers in South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska with EQIP funding to renovate shelterbelts. The other will provide EQIP funding to farmers and ranchers on the Arizona-New Mexico border region to implement conservation practices to maintain or improve plant species composition and density.
For CCPI projects within a single state, California had the highest number of projects, with 7 projects (27% of total) totaling $2.5 million (38% of total). Four of these projects, provided with over $2.3 million, involved improvements to forestland and reduction of sediment from forest roads.
All but three of the state projects will draw solely on EQIP funds. A project led by the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center Rice Research Center will provide CSP resources for rice growers to implement conservation practices on 15,000 acres. And, a project award to the Newton County Missouri Soil and Water Conservation District will use CSP funding for farmers to exclude livestock from streams, implement grazing systems, and install alternative in-field water supplies with solar-powered pumps. A project award to the National Wild Turkey Federation combines EQIP and WHIP funding for landowners to establish conservation practices to improve water quality, especially on pasturelands.
The CCPI was a 2002 and 2008 Farm Bill priority program for NSAC.
Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment