USDA Annoounces New Landmark Conservation Initiatives
New Programs Authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill Help Restore Wetlands, Support Outdoor Recreation Activities, Boost the Economy
ORRTANNA, Pa., May 1, 2014—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that applications are now being accepted for new, landmark conservation initiatives created by the 2014 Farm Bill. The programs will provide up to $386 million to help farmers restore wetlands, protect working agriculture lands, support outdoor recreation activities and boost the economy.
Vilsack made the announcement at Kuhn Orchards in Orrtanna, Pennsylvania. The farm's owners participate in the USDA Conservation Stewardship Program, have worked to encourage pollinator health through planting practices, and used USDA program support to construct a high tunnel.
"By protecting working lands and wetlands, we're able to strengthen agricultural operations, sustain the nation's food supply and protect habitat for a variety of wildlife," Vilsack said. "In addition, we're providing states and Tribal governments a tool to expand access to private lands for hunting, fishing, hiking and other recreational activities, which helps boost wildlife-related businesses and grow the economy."
USDA's conservation efforts have helped mitigate the negative impacts of drought and are helping producers to manage the effects of climate change. USDA has enrolled a record number of acres in conservation programs that have saved millions of tons of soil and improved water quality and have contributed to the national effort to preserve habitat for wildlife and protect the most sensitive ecological areas. USDA has partnered with more than 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners on these conservation projects...