Source: USDA

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting proposals for a unique new conservation partnership program, established in the 2008 Farm Bill. The Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) allows interested partners to propose projects that can draw from multiple conservation programs to forward conservation goals.

"Each of the Farm Bill conservation programs holds opportunities and has benefits such as fixing conservation problems or improving wildlife habitat," said Ed Burton, State Conservationist for NRCS in California. "The idea behind CCPI is to allow partners to pull from different program funding to approach conservation goals comprehensively."

Six percent of the funds made available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) are set aside to be used in projects proposed by successful CCPI applicants. (The Farm Bill allows for the Conservation Stewardship Program acreage to also be used for CCPI projects but that component will not be part of CCPI in the 2009 fiscal year roll out.)

In California, this translates into $2,444,671 of EQIP money and $111,250 of WHIP funding that can be used to support the goals of the CPPI proposals.

Applicants may propose projects in a defined project area to achieve high-priority natural resource objectives.

Projects may be proposed on the state and/or national levels. Ninety percent of CCPI funds are available at the state level and 10 percent are available nationally.

Applicants should apply for national funds if the proposed projects targets two or more states.

Interested agricultural producers covered by selected CCPI projects, will be invited to apply for EQIP and/or WHIP to support the goals of the project. NRCS will enter into cooperative agreements with the sponsors of the CCPI projects. CCPI funding will be provided directly to participants through EQIP and WHIP contracts.

Proposals must be postmarked by April 23 and submitted to Lincoln "Ed" Burton, NRCS State Conservationist for California-specific proposals, or Dave White, Chief of the NRCS, for multi-state or national proposals.

For detailed background information and instructions for submitting CCPI proposals for state, multi-state, and national projects, click here.