JOHANNS ANNOUNCES NEARLY $2.7 BILLION FOR VOLUNTARY CONSERVATION PROGRAMS ON WORKING LANDS
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2005-Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the release of nearly $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2006 for voluntary conservation programs on working lands.
"Conservation on private lands is an important priority for USDA. We are fulfilling that commitment by responding to the needs of agricultural producers to provide more certainty and predictability in their environmental stewardship decisions before planting season begins," said Johanns. "The early release of these funds will give producers time to develop effective conservation plans and help them to improve their land."
The funds' early release ensures farmers and ranchers in the nation's 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Pacific Basin have more time to make sound decisions regarding their conservation practices. States will receive their allocations much earlier than in the past. Fiscal year 2006 allocations include nearly $1.3 billion in technical assistance and about $1.4 billion in financial assistance for NRCS voluntary conservation programs and other activities. A total of more than $2.3 billion will be distributed to the 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Pacific Basin.
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 lands and protect valuable wetlands ecosystems and wildlife habitat.