What is RC&D?

The acronym "RC&D" is short for Resource Conservation and Development. RC&D is a unique process that helps people protect and develop their economic, natural, and social resources in ways that improve their area's economy, environment, and quality of life. Local RC&D Councils provide a way for people to plan and implement projects that will make their communities a better place to live. They bring together people, needs, concerns, opportunities, and solutions. RC&Ds were established in the Agriculture Act of 1962 to provide a program that empowered rural people to help themselves. The focus on local direction and control has made RC&D one of the most successful rural development programs of the Federal Government.


Can anyone get involved with RC&D?

Yes. Anyone who:

  • believes that one person can make a difference.
  • wants to be involved in making things happen in their community, county, region or state.
  • wants to see natural resources utilized without adversely affecting the environment.
  • wants to improve the quality of life in their community.

RC&D offers many opportunities for you to get involved and make things happen. It doesn't matter if you live in the city or the country; or if you are a business owner or a housewife; there's always a place for you in RC&D. We are always seeking private citizens, businesses, and organizations to become members of committees or to participate in planning projects, identifying priorities, or just helping with one activity. If you are presently involved in a community project, seek out the RC&D. They may be able to provide you with technical assistance or funding, or put you in touch with private and public organizations which can help you reach your goals. You may want to consider working with the RC&D to start new projects in your community or region.


What type of assistance can RC&D offer for a project?

RC&Ds identify agencies or organizations that can assist in completing each step of the project plan, to serve as sources of technical assistance and to provide financial resources if needed. RC&Ds provide the vehicle for achieving a goal and completing projects. However, a project is not an "RC&D project" in the sense that an RC&D does everything. Local leadership and support are key elements for any successful project.

Types of assistance available include:

  • identifying potential funding sources
  • serving as an umbrella organization for new non-profits and foundations
  • working with grants
  • coordinating technical assistance
  • serving as a conduit for "pass-through" grants
  • conducting research
  • helping with grant administration
  • coordinating mailings
  • organizing events
  • conducting information campaigns
  • hiring multi-county employees
  • conducting tours and educational events

The amount and kind of assistance depends on the type of project and the Council's wishes.


What can RC&D's do that other organizations can't?

Within an RC&D, you can do anything the local people want to do as long as it fits within the
Council's long range plans and goals for the area. For example, an RC&D can:

  • create a park
  • preserve a historical site
  • provide a community facility
  • correct erosion problems
  • open a tourist attraction
  • provide animal waste technical assistance
  • promote use of modern telecommunications technology in rural areas
  • develop a wildlife habitat restoration or wetland education area
  • work on water quality issues
  • build a green way trail
  • promote local industry
  • stabilize a storm water channel
  • build a timber bridge
  • provide funding for windbreak projects
  • provide funding for rural emergency medical services and equipment

RC&Ds are not entities of government; therefore the usual policies and constraints of local, state, and federal government programs do not limit them in the kinds of issues they decide to address or how they decide to do it. Local people on the Council determine the types of concerns, projects and activities in which they will become involved. RC&Ds lean towards projects that have not (or cannot) be addressed by other entities such as their Conservation Partners (SWCDs, NRCS, CES, etc.).