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Grazing NC

Overview of Federal Financial Programs

Overview of Federal Financial Programs

Regional Conservation Partnership Program


The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) is a USDA grant program with an annual budget of $300m. It is implemented by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency within USDA that funds projects that benefit agricultural producers and the environment. RCPP projects are designed to enable state and local agencies, non-profit organizations, and other entities to partner regionally with NRCS on projects to promote farmer adoption of conservation activities to address key natural resource concerns. Awards for beneficial projects range from $250,000 - $10 million. These awards are given to projects that address on-farm, watershed and regional natural resource concerns. RCPP projects must demonstrate innovative solutions to conservation challenges, have measurable improvements to the resource concerns they address, and be focused on environmental outcomes. Recipients must match RCPP funding at least 1:1. However, the match funding can be “any combination of direct funding and in-kind support. NRCS strongly recommends that partners propose value-added contributions that elevate and enhance the overall impact and efficacy of an RCPP project. The magnitude and significance of partner contributions factors into the project evaluation criteria.” 


Applications to Regenerative Grazing:

RCPP funds on-farm conservation practices via other established conservation programs, including CSP, EQIP and CRP (see below). Regenerative Grazing NC is exploring how RCPP could be used to fund a coordinated shift toward regenerative grazing practices on a watershed level.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program


EQIP supports working lands conservation through cost-share and technical assistance payments to farmers and ranchers. The program accomplishes this by providing financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, increased soil health, and mitigation against increasing weather volatility.

Applications to Regenerative Grazing:

Movable, electric fencing to facilitate frequent movement of animals and water systems for cattle.

Conservation Stewardship Program


CSP is the largest working lands conservation program in the U.S. The program pays producers to improve, maintain, and actively manage conservation activities in place at the time of application and to adopt new conservation activities during the life of the five-year contract. Farmers can earn payments for incorporating activities such as cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and to support the transition to organic farming on their land. 

Applications to Regenerative Grazing:

Management-intensive rotational grazing, multi-species planting, incorporating native grasses and legumes into forage base, use of cover crops, trees for silvopasture, rotation of feeding and supplement areas, solar-powered electric fencing, grazing management to improve wildlife habitat.

Conservation Innovation Grant


CIGs are a subprogram of EQIP designed to support development and testing of promising new conservation technologies and methodologies. Its goal is to make those science-based solutions available for use as quickly as possible by farmers and ranchers. CIGs can also be used to fund projects that seek to develop and improve access to innovative conservation solutions for farmers nationwide through on-farm pilots and demonstration projects. Grantees must match the CIG investment at least 1:1. 

Applications to Regenerative Grazing:

University partnerships to study ecosystem services, development of carbon offset markets and carbon accounting systems.

Conservation Reserve Program 


CRP’s primary purpose is to conserve and protect soil, protect water quality, and provide wildlife habitat by establishing long-term cover on highly erodible land, or land in need of conservation buffers, that has previously been in row crop production. In exchange for cost-share and rental payments, farmers remove land from production and plant resource-conserving land cover to protect soil, water and wildlife habitat.

Applications to Regenerative Grazing:

Retiring marginal lands and building buffers around waterways, building wildlife and pollinator habitats on parts of property that are not suitable for grazing.

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