WASHINGTON – Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Mark Rey announced the release of nearly $1.5 billion in funding for conservation programs on working lands this fiscal year.
Operational. The distribution of funds to states makes conservation programs administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service operational.
With financial and technical assistance from NRCS, farmers, ranchers and other landowners will continue to address resource concerns on agricultural working lands, promote environmental quality, address challenges in water quality and quantity, protect prime farmland and grazing land, and protect valuable wetland ecosystems and wildlife habitat on private lands.
What’s included. The FY 2004 allocations to states include $1.2 billion in financial assistance and $305 million for technical assistance for NRCS Farm Bill programs and other activities.
At least $30 million of the technical assistance funds will be used for technical service providers.
“This funding will provide positive applications of sound conservation on the ground – at the local level – on America’s privately-owned farms and ranches,” Rey said.
Contracts. Now that these funds have been allocated, NRCS state offices will begin writing contracts with farmers and ranchers nationwide.
These contracts will help ease the existing backlog in these popular programs improving soil, water, air and at-risk habitat on working lands.
More information. Information on conservation programs is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill/2002/products.html.
Landowners who want specific information regarding program participation should contact their local USDA Service Center or NRCS office, located at http://offices.usda.gov.
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