USDA is awarding $197 million for 41 locally led conservation projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP is a partner-driven program that leverages partner resources to advance innovative projects that address climate change, enhance water quality, and address other critical challenges on agricultural land.

 “Our partners are experts in their fields and understand the challenges in their own backyards,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Through RCPP we can tap into that knowledge, in partnership with producers and USDA, to come up with lasting solutions to the challenges that farmers, ranchers, and landowners face. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of public-private partnership at its best, made possible through these RCPP investments.”

There were 3 Iowa projects that received funding: 

  • West Nishnabotna Water Quality and Infrastructure Partnership
    • The West Nishnabotna Water Quality and Infrastructure Partnership aims to improve water quality, increase flood resiliency, and protect local infrastructure across a 681,000-acre project area in southwestern Iowa. The project will complement similar activity on private lands in service of making the landscape more resilient in the face of increasing catastrophic flooding events. The partnership wirll report project outcomes through monitoring and modeling of soil and nutrient loss reductions.


  • Iowa Climate Smart Switchgrass Cropping System Transition
    • Improve carbon sequestration, soil health, and reduce nutrient runoff while also improving profit on farms in southern Iowa by developing a Climate Smart Switchgrass Cropping System. Project objectives include: (1) transition 5000 acres of sensitive traditional row crow agriculture in areas in greated need of soil erosion control and water quality, (2) sequester soil carbon up to 1.79 tons per acre per year, (3) increase farmer net income per acre by 15%, (4) demonstrate effectiveness of CSSGCS, and build a long-term CSSGCS market for emerging erosion control products.


  • Iowa Working Lands Conservation Partnership
    • The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will expand and build upon successful locally-led efforts working collaboratively with cattle farmers to increase the resilience of their operations and improve conservation outcomes. Implemented through the use of precision ag and conservation planning tools, project partners plan to measure success by modeling reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon equivalents within the project area. Project goals include planting over 200,000 acres of cover crops, 10,000 acres of extended rotations, 10,000 acres of forage and biomass planting, 100 grade stabilization structures, and implementation of associated support practices.