Thursday, September 19, 2019

$33 million in USDA funds aimed at improving water quality

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it recently invested $33 million in nearly 200 watersheds throughout the country, which will allow farmers in those areas to promote local water quality through the Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI).

"USDA is committed to working hand-in-hand with farmers, ranchers, and landowners to address water quality issues and provide the tools necessary to ensure clean, safe water for communities and wildlife," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "This latest investment is yet another example of how voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs are benefiting both producers and our natural resources."

The NWQI works with conservation partners at the state and national level to identify areas that would benefit the most from conservation practices implemented on farms. The initiative works with farmers to promote voluntary efforts like nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, terraces and buffers. Theses practices not only promote water quality through the reduction of nutrients runoff, they also promote soil health and improve agricultural productivity and profitability.

The USDA has invested more than $29 billion for conservation improvements on over 400 million acres, working with up to 500,000 farmers and landowners.

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United States Department of Agriculture

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