Waterway in Iowa field

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association)

Is your farmland RCPP eligible?

November 11, 2021 | Kriss Nelson

If you are interested in adopting conservation on your farm, you may be eligible for assistance through a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

An RCPP is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) to target conservation priorities identified by partner organizations in the states and regions across the United States.

Most recently the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) led a proposal to target the North Raccoon River Watershed with additional funding for water quality and habitat conservation practices.

“The North Racoon Watershed is one of several RCPP projects active in the state of Iowa which all have a primary focus on reducing nutrient loss to surface waters downstream from cropland,” says Theo Gunther, senior research program development coordinator at ISA.

Farmers and landowners can apply for funding to adopt several in-field and edge-of-field conservation practices including cover crops, reduced tillage, restored oxbow wetlands, bioreactors, saturated buffers and constructed nutrient treatment wetlands.

All financial assistance is administered through the NRCS and applications are submitted to the county office where the fields are located.

As part of the project, ISA staff and partners have expertise and technical knowledge to help farmers apply for assistance through RCPP. ISA’s network of conservation agronomists is among those experts.

“ISA has been building technical capacity in the North Raccoon River Watershed by creating a conservation agronomist network,” says Heath Ellison, ISA senior field services program manager. “The conservation agronomist is the local boots on the ground that can assist farmers and landowners with evaluating the feasibility of the conservation practices on their farm, guide them through the NRCS application process and then provide agronomic and implementation support once they are awarded an RCPP contract.”