In December, USDA New Hampshire, The Monadnock Conservancy and five partners, including Land For Good, have been awarded more than $1.2 million through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The project will protect nearly 3,000 acres of important farmland in the Monadnock region by 2021. The project will target riverfront farmland, especially land along the Connecticut, Ashuelot and Contoocook as well as waterways that have been identified as impaired. One thousand acres will be conserved through Natural Resources Conservation Service funds; the remaining 1,700 acres will be conserved using a combination of private funds, state grant funding and through donated easements.
“Farms play a key role in maintaining the rural character that makes the Monadnock region so special, and Connecticut River bottomland features some of the most productive soil in the country,” notes Stacy Gambrel, conservation project manager for the Monadnock Conservancy. “Unfortunately, this riverfront land is also highly threatened by development.”
While the main focus of this project is on acquiring agricultural conservation easements, the Monadnock Conservancy and its partners -Cheshire County Conservation District, Land for Good, Connecticut River Watershed Farmers Alliance, Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation, and NRCS state and field office staff – will also engage in education and outreach to landowners to promote farm succession planning, conservation options, and land stewardship practices.
“Monadnock Conservancy has been involved in land conservation in NH for many years and are a veteran participant in NRCS programs”, said Rick Ellsmore, NRCS NH State Conservationist. “It’s an honor and a privilege to work with them to protect agricultural lands in the Southwestern part of the state”.
Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements. Nearly 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners have protected over 400 million acres nationwide, boosting soil and air quality, cleaning and conserving water and enhancing wildlife habitat. Read the full press release from USDA NRCS New Hampshire here.