Vilsack announces $1.5 billion to combat climate crisis.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

April 5, 2024

1 Min Read
Soybean field at sunset
Getty Images/iStockPhoto/fotokostic

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced UDSA is making $1.5 billion available to support conservation and climate friendly initiatives. He said this latest effort will also bring farmers cost savings, new revenue streams and increased productivity.

The new funding will support project grants through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. That program prioritizes climate-smart agriculture, urban agriculture, conservation and environmental justice.

Half of the grant money will be devoted to the “RCPP Classic” program. That initiative works with eligible public entities, nonprofits and organizations willing to partner with the RCCP on conservation priorities. Potential projects include those addressing production, wildlife habitat, land management, water quality and other priorities.

The remaining grant funding will go to the “RCPP Alternative Funding Agreements” initiative that works directly with producers to develop innovative conservation approaches.

All new grants are supported with funds from the farm bill and the Inflation Reduction Act. Project grant amounts will range between $25,000 and $250,000.

Vilsack says unprecedented demand for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program last year illustrates the strong interest in conservation among farmers and ranchers. According to USDA data, the Inflation Reduction Act has provided $19.5 billion to USDA’s conservation programs over five years. That figure includes $4.95 billion for RCPP.

“Through the increase in funding from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, we’re able to invest even more this year in this important program, increasing our impact across the landscape,” Vilsack says. “We’re looking forward to seeing what the more streamlined and customer-oriented Regional Conservation Partnership Program can do to get more conservation on the ground in the coming months and years.”

Interested parties have until July 2 to submit applications. Grant awardees will be announced at a later date.

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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