DES MOINES, IA, Sept. 22, 2021 — USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing three new project areas and one project renewal in which Iowa farmers can apply for conservation assistance through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
Through RCPP, NRCS co-invests with partners to implement projects that demonstrate innovative solutions to conservation challenges and provide measurable improvements and outcomes tied to resource concerns.
NRCS accepts program applications on a continuous basis but sets dates to batch and rank applications as funding allows. Interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by Oct. 22, 2021, to be considered for first round fiscal year 2022 RCPP funding.
The three new projects include:
- Through the North Raccoon Partnership for Soil and Water Outcomes Project, the Iowa Soybean Association, in collaboration with ag retailers, Federal and State agencies, and the City of Des Moines, will take a watershed approach to improving soil health and water quality in a high-profile watershed located in central Iowa. The partnership will take an innovative approach of deploying conservation staff in ag retailer locations to minimize barriers to producer participation. Targeted practices include no-till, cover crops, denitrifying bioreactors, saturated buffers, and wetland restoration.
- Through the Turkey River Watershed Project, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will deliver a comprehensive outreach, planning, and implementation approach to spur the long-term adoption of management and structural practices to reduce water quality degradation in the Turkey River Watershed. Project partners estimate that producer efforts will reduce almost 400,000 pounds of nitrogen and over 11,000 pounds of nitrogen out of local waterways.
- The Iowa Systems Approach to Conservation Drainage project brings together a diverse partnership, including PepsiCo, Heartland Co-op, the Nature Conservancy and Nutrien Ag Solutions, to demonstrate a systems approach to improved farm profitability and sustainability on some of the most intensely farmed land in Iowa. The project supports implementation of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) and aims to help producers plant nearly 150,000 acres of cover crops and install 50 denitrifying bioreactors and saturated wetlands, among other water quality, flood control and source water protection practices.
The renewal project is the Midwest Agriculture Water Quality Partnership Project, co-led by IDALS and the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA). The project assembles 47 partners and more than $38 million to build an innovative public-private collaboration to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality, soil health, and habitat for at-risk species.
NRCS is also announcing an Oct. 22, 2021, application batching date for four existing 2014 Farm Bill RCPP projects funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Projects include:
- Midwest Agriculture Water Quality Partnership
- Fox River Water Quality Project
- Innovative Conservation Agriculture
- Driftless Area Habitat for the Wild & Rare Phase 2
For project fact sheets and maps to determinate eligibility, visit: www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/ia/programs/farmbill/rcpp/.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some NRCS offices are taking in-person visitors by appointment only, so please call ahead.
For more information about conservation planning and programs to help treat natural resource issues on your land, visit www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov.