Upto524millionavailableforc.cfm Up to $52.4 million available for conservation initiative
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Up to $52.4 million available for conservation initiative

Proposals due April 23

South Dakota

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of up to $52.4 million of financial assistance available for competitive grants to protect the nation's natural resources through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative. The CCPI is a voluntary conservation initiative that enables the use of certain conservation programs with resources of eligible partners to provide financial and technical assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and nonindustrial private forest lands.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service state office in Huron is accepting South Dakota based proposals for this program until April 23. Approximately $1 million is available for NRCS South Dakota funding. Multi-state proposals must be submitted to the NRCS national office by April 23.

The purposes of a CCPI partnership agreement are to: (1) Address conservation priorities involving agriculture and nonindustrial private forest land on a local, state, multi-state, or regional level; (2) to encourage producers to cooperate in meeting applicable federal, state, and local regulatory requirements related to production; (3) to encourage producers to cooperate in the installation and maintenance of conservation practices that affect multiple agricultural or nonindustrial private forest land; and (4) to promote the development and demonstration of innovative conservation practices and delivery methods, including those for specialty crop and organic production and precision agriculture producers.

Administered by NRCS, CCPI, a voluntary initiative, allows landowners and operators of agricultural and non-industrial private forest lands to use selected conservation programs and resources from eligible partners to put conservation on the land. Under this program, NRCS enters into multi-year agreements with eligible partners that want to enhance conservation on agricultural and non-industrial private forest lands. Partners include federally recognized American Indian tribes, state and local units of governments, producer associations, farmer cooperatives, colleges and universities and non-governmental organizations with a history of working closely with producers.

A producer's land must be located within an approved CCPI project area to be considered for financial assistance through CCPI. In fiscal year 2009, producers can apply for financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program. Individual producers cannot submit a partner proposal.

Priority is given to applications that involve a high percentage of producers; significantly leverage non-federal financial and technical resources and coordinate with other local, state, or federal efforts; deliver high percentages of applied conservation to address water quality, water quantity, or state, regional, or national conservation initiatives; and provide innovation in conservation methods and delivery that include performance measurement. CCPI is implemented through multi-year agreements, not to exceed 5 years, with partners selected through a competitive application process.

Proposals for CCPI partnership agreements are submitted to the appropriate NRCS State Conservationists (for state initiatives) or to the NRCS Chief (if the project is multi-state or national) for evaluation and approval. Partner proposals must be postmarked and submitted to the appropriate NRCS state conservationist or to the NRCS chief no later than April 23. If you submit a proposal directly to the NRCS chief, please allow an extra week for delivery. Multi-state CCPI partnership proposals will be sent the NRCS chief for consideration in a national evaluation process. Multi-state proposals must be accompanied by a letter of review from each of the NRCS state conservationists included in the proposal. The state conservationists' letters of review must be sent to the NRCS chief no later than May 8. In addition, USDA is seeking comment on how CCPI can contribute toward new methods of renewable energy production and conservation, reduce the effects of climate change, and reduce net carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. Comments must be submitted by April 8.

For South Dakota, send proposals to: USDA NRCS, Janet Oertly, State Conservationist, 200 Fourth St., SW, Huron, SD 57350. For more information about CCPI in South Dakota, call Mike Kuck at 605-352-1206, or Denise Gauer at 605-352-1203. For more information and updates about the CCPI and other farm bill topics, please refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website at www.usda.gov/farmbill or the Natural Resources Conservation Service website at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ccpi.

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