Demonstrate environmental stewardship by participating in conservation programs on your farm. Recently, the USDA announced the release of nearly $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2006 for voluntary conservation programs on working lands.
"These funds give growers the assistance needed to continue to address the vital issues of protecting the environment and water quality, while also continuing to protect our farm lands," says Bill Chase, National Corn Growers Association Production and Stewardship Action Team chairman. "Conservation is always a top priority for corn growers. Ultimately, by being good stewards of our land, our end crop benefits."
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns says the USDA considers conservation programs a priority and is responding to the needs of agricultural producers by providing more funds for "more certainty and predictability in their environmental stewardship decisions before planting season begins."
"The early release of these funds will give producers time to develop effective conservation plans and help them to improve their land," states Johanns.
The funds, according to USDA, will be issued early, which will ensure farmers and ranchers will have more time to make sound decisions regarding their conservation practices.
Fiscal year 2006 allocations include nearly $1.3 billion in technical assistance and about $1.4 billion in financial assistance for Natural Resources Conservation Service voluntary conservation programs and other activities.
Key voluntary conservation programs and their allocations include:
- Conservation Security Program--$259,000,000
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program--$994,705
- Ground and Surface Water Conservation--$70,093,458
- Klamath Basin--$11,319,018
- Wetlands Reserve Program--$245,795,302
- Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program--$73,500,000
- Grassland Reserve Program--$915,259
- Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program--$43,000,000
For addition information and to identify the specific states involved, please visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs. Landowners who want specific information regarding program participation should contact their local USDA Service Center or NRCS office located at http://offices.usda.gov or in the telephone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture.