Climate change partnership projects include South Dakota, Nebraska

U.S. Department of Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On April 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is investing $330 million in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.

Projects are awarded through the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is public-private partnerships working at their best,” said NRCS Acting Chief Terry Cosby. “These new projects will harness the power of partnerships to help bring about solutions to natural resource concerns across the country while supporting our efforts to combat the climate crisis.”

Across America, producers are seeing the impacts from climate change. Farmers, landowners and local communities can be a major part of the effort to combat climate change.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air and water. Through conservation practices and partnerships, including those through RCPP, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, producers and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local and Tribal governments.

About RCPP

Through RCPP, conservation partners work in collaboration with NRCS to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners throughout the nation to implement systems that conserve water and soil resources, improve the health of wildlife habitats and increase climate resilience.

RCPP partners offer value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding. These projects offer impactful and measurable outcomes. Throughout its history, RCPP has leveraged partner contributions of more than $1 for every $1 invested by USDA, resulting in nearly $3 billion collectively invested in natural resource conservation on private lands. The department anticipates the investments announced April 26 will generate at least $440 million in additional conservation funds by communities and other partners.

Area examples of the 2021 RCPP projects include:

Building Ranch Resiliency in South Dakota and Nebraska: By 2024, this partnership of eight organizations proposes to increase rangeland resiliency on 40 South Dakota and Nebraska ranches. The diverse partnership will contribute expertise on grazing management, wildlife habitat improvement and water development to improve range condition. A subset of the participating producers will be enrolled, on a voluntary basis, in World Wildlife Fund’s Ranch Systems Viability Planning project through which ranchers gain expertise in financial strategies, marketing, diversification and estate planning.