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Grants to USA State and Local Governments, IHEs, Farmer Cooperatives, and Agricultural Producers for Environmental Conservation Projects

Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Classic and AFA


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA) - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
CFDA Number: 10.932
Funding or PIN Number: USDA-NRCS-NHQ-RCPP-23-NOFO0001304
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);

Important Dates
Deadline: 08/18/23 4:59 PM Eastern Time Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA and territories states, local governments, tribes, IHEs, farmer cooperatives, agricultural producers, and other organizations for environmental conservation projects. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. Funding is intended to support innovative projects implemented by farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners that address on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns.

The RCPP promotes the coordination of NRCS conservation activities with partners that contribute a significant portion of the overall costs of a project. This coordination expands our ability to address resource concerns at farm, watershed, and regional scales. Through the RCPP, NRCS coinvests with partners to implement projects that address conservation challenges and provide measurable improvements and outcomes for resource concerns.

Using guidance contained in this notice, potential RCPP partners propose projects that generate conservation benefits by addressing specific natural resource objectives in a state or multistate area or address one or more priority resource concerns within an NRCS-designated critical conservation area (CCA). NRCS and partners collaborate to design, promote, and implement RCPP projects on agricultural and nonindustrial private forest land. Through the RCPP, NRCS may provide both financial and technical assistance funds to project partners and producers to carry out projects. RCPP proposals are evaluated through a competitive proposal process based on three criteria: quantifiable impact, partner contributions, and partnership and management.

NRCS is actively working on improving the delivery and administration of the RCPP. Some of the improvements will be directed at areas such as simplifying and reducing the number of agreements while still complying with statutory and regulatory requirements, streamlining and reducing evaluation criteria, reducing lengthy RCPP easement transactions, improving the RCPP Portal, consistent guidance and training for employees and partners, as well as simplifying the technical assistance structure.

In FY 2023, NRCS will make a total of $500 million available for both the “Classic” component and the alternative funding arrangements (AFA). The $500 million total is funded from two separate authorizations: the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). Individual RCPP projects will only receive RCPP funds from a single source, either the 2018 Farm Bill funds or the IRA funds due to the specific, measurable climate-smart targeting required in the IRA. NRCS will prioritize using IRA funds for projects that will implement climate-smart agriculture conservation activities which are targeted to assist agricultural producers and nonindustrial private forestland owners in directly improving soil carbon, reducing nitrogen losses, or reducing, capturing, avoiding, or sequestering carbon dioxide, methane, or nitrous oxide emissions, associated with agricultural production, Where co-benefits exist with climate mitigation goals exist, IRA funds can support projects that address water resource concerns and associated risks. 

RCPP AFAs are intended to support projects and approaches that cannot be effectively carried out through RCPP Classic. RCPP AFA applications must describe the conservation approach they are proposing. The following are examples of project types that might be implemented through RCPP AFA:

  • Projects that use innovative approaches to leverage the Federal investment in conservation,
  • Projects that deploy a pay-for-performance conservation approach, and
  • Projects that seek large-scale infrastructure investments that generate conservation benefits for agricultural producers and nonindustrial private forest owners. 

Information about priorities can be found starting on page 8 of the NOFO. See RFP & Supporting Documents.

Eligible Activities can be found on page 16 of the the NOFO. See RFP & Supporting Documents.


  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria
Entities that are classified as one of the following organizational types can serve as an eligible RCPP partner:
1. An agricultural or silvicultural producer association or other group of producers.
2. A state or unit of local government.
3. An Indian Tribe.
4. A farmer cooperative.
5. A water district, irrigation district, acequia, rural water district or association, or other organization with specific water delivery authority to agricultural producers.
6. A municipal water or wastewater treatment entity.
7. An institution of higher education.
8. An organization, business or entity with an established history of working cooperatively with producers, as determined by NRCS, to address:
a. local conservation priorities related to agricultural production, wildlife habitat development, or nonindustrial private forest land management; or
b. critical watershed-scale soil erosion, water quality, sediment reduction, or other natural resource issues.
9. An entity, such as an Indian Tribe, state government, local government, or a nongovernmental organization, that has a farmland or grassland protection program that purchases agricultural land easements, as defined in 7 CFR 1468.3.
10. A conservation district.

Additional eligibility information can be found starting on page 13 of the NOFO. See RFP & Supporting Documents.

Additional Geographic Information:

RCPP Critical Conservation Areas can be found on page 11 of the NOFO. See RFP & Supporting Documents.

Pre-Proposal Conference
Webinar: Interested applicants are encouraged to participate in webinars that provide general information about this funding announcement. Two webinars are scheduled for May 24, 2023, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time and June 7, 2023 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. (you may join the conference 10 minutes prior). Additional webinars may be announced as needed.

Webinars: Wednesday, May 24th from 2-3:30 ET,

Wednesday, June 7th from 2-3:30 ET,

Pre-Application Information
Proposals must be received by NRCS by 4:59 p.m. Eastern Time on August 18, 2023.

Submissions: Applicants must submit proposals through the RCPP portal, and partners must be registered with USDA’s eAuthentication system to access the portal. Partners must request access to the RCPP portal. This process typically takes a few business days. During this process NRCS must verify a users’ eAuth permissions and during high volume periods it may take over a week.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate RCPP coordinator for their state to discuss any questions. At least 4 weeks prior to the proposal deadline, and before starting a proposal in the RCPP portal, entities interested in applying to RCPP are advised to request a meeting with the appropriate NRCS state conservationist and RCPP coordinator.

SAM Registration: The System for Award Management (SAM) is the official U.S. Government system that consolidated the capabilities of the Central Contractor Registration, Federal Register, Online Representations and Certification Application, and Excluded Parties List System. To register, go to SAM registration must be renewed annually. All RCPP applicants must be registered within and include their Unique Entity Identification in their proposal. Applicants should allow ample time to obtain or renew their SAM account.

Applicants must have eAuthentication (eAuth) level-2 credentials to access the RCPP portal. This is a USDA-wide requirement and is non-negotiable.

How to Apply:

Press Release:

View this opportunity on

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants
Up to 15 AFAs may be awarded through 2018 Farm Bill funding, and additional AFAs or grants may be awarded through IRA funding. There is no cap on the number of AFAs/ Grants that can be funded utilizing the IRA funding

Estimated Size of Grant
- Award Ceiling: $25,000,000
- Award Floor: $250,000

Term of Contract
RCPP funds awarded at the time the agreement is executed are committed by NRCS for 5 years. Partners may request an agreement term of longer than 5 years when it is necessary to meet the objectives of the program.

In the case of IRA-funded projects, all financial and technical assistance funds must be expended by September 30, 2031, and no IRA-funded RCPP project partnership agreements will be extended beyond that date.

Contact Information
Apply Online:

A list of state RCPP coordinators is on the RCPP website at

Applicants can also email questions about this notice to the RCPP inbox at

RFP & Supporting Documents
Full Grant Text RFP

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates / changes / addendums / conferences / LOIs.

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