NRCS in Tennessee Offers RCPP Assistance to Producers to Address Soil and Water Resource Concerns

NASHVILLE, December 15, 2017 – The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Tennessee, recently announced $1.2 million funding availability to expand assistance services to address resource concerns and improve the quality of Tennessee waters across the state. Producers are encouraged to sign up for assistance through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  The deadline to submit applications is January 19, 2018.

“RCPP serves as a valuable vehicle for matching federal investment and private capital. We are seeing positive results in our natural resources and in agricultural production,” said Kevin Brown, Tennessee NRCS State Conservationist. “These locally-led efforts from our partners are having an impact on both conservation and production.”

The RCPP funds awarded will finance cost-share on conservation projects that will address factors contributing to the watershed being listed on the state 303(d) List—a section under the Clean Water Act that requires states to submit lists of impaired waters, or waters that are too polluted or otherwise degraded to meet water quality standards.

The listing identifies more than 10,000 stream miles across Tennessee that are impaired from some agricultural concern, such as crop production, livestock impacts, pasture grazing, etc. Treatment of primary resource concerns will address and minimize impacts from siltation/sedimentation, nutrients and pathogens.

The State of Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, is the lead partner in this RCPP effort.

For more information on Tennessee RCPP projects, visit the Tennessee NRCS website or for National RCPP projects, the National RCPP website. USDA NRCS helps America’s farmers and ranchers conserve the Nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users). “Voluntary Conservation Works!”


Notifications of open programs and sign-up dates will be placed in the The Courier as well as here on the Hardin County Soil Conservation District website

Agricultural Resource Conservation Fund (ARCF)

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) is authorized by T.C.A. §67-4-409(l) to administer the Agricultural Resources Conservation Fund (ARCF). This statute states the intent of the General Assembly is for the highest priority of the ARCF to be the abatement and prevention of nonpoint source water pollution that may be associated with agricultural production.

Historically, funding has been provided to landowners throughcontracts with the Soil Conservation Districts (SCDs) for the installation of Best Management Practices (BMPs), grants for specialized equipment, and targeted educational events. It isessential that the benchmark of program effectiveness be in terms of measurable water quality improvements.

The Agricultural Resource Conservation Fund is a program provided by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) to help agricultural producers implement Best Management Practices

(BMP’s) that will help improve water quality.


Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) 

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a continuous USDA sign-up program that offers financial and technical assistance to eligible participants to install and maintain conservation practices, including those related to organic production, on agricultural land or private nonindustrial forestland.Traditionally all funds have been allocated to applications taken during the first signup period running from October 1 to December 20th, with applications carried over from the prior year included in the first funding period. In Hardin County most funds utilized in this program have addressed water quality issues associated with animal agriculture.

Conservation practices installed most often increase the ability of the landowner to manage land more profitably and provide positive impacts to the local economy.  Cross fencing and access control fencing, alternative water systems such as frost proof water troughs for cattle, and pipeline have proved to be the most feasible and popular practices we use. Managed grazing allows a landowner to reduce the time that livestock have access to streams which goes to our local water intake. Managed grazing can also significantly increase forage yields, reduce health problems for cattle and improve wildlife habitat. We also offer several options on seeding cropland or poor pastureland, including establishing native grasses.  EQIP offers assistance to address cropland, energy conservation, animal waste management, organic farming, and other resource concerns identified locally.  It offers a great tool for good land managers to improve their farmland. The application, ranking and contracting period usually runs from Fall to Spring with practices being completed during the first 12 months after contracting.


 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

Our Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps you build on your existing conservation efforts while strengthening your operation.  Whether you are looking to improve grazing conditions, increase crop yields, or develop wildlife habitat, we can custom design a CSP plan to help you meet those goals. We can help you schedule timely planting of cover crops, develop a grazing plan that will improve your forage base, implement no-till to reduce erosion or manage forested areas in a way that benefits wildlife habitat.  If you are already taking steps to improve the condition of the land, chances are CSP can help you find new ways to meet your goal.


Please contact Mark Roberts at 731-412-3106 or come by Wayne Road∼Savannah, TN 38372 for more information concerning the programs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

Hardin County Soil Conservation District is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer.