America’s farmers are among our first and finest conservationists. At USDA, we support their work to protect natural landscapes, improve water and air quality, and preserve wildlife habitat, forests and soil.
In addition to environmental benefits, this work helps drive economic growth and creates good, middle class jobs – particularly in rural communities. Farmers who help the environment improve their bottom line. Fishing, hunting, hiking, boating and other outdoor recreation adds $730 billion to our nation’s economy each year and supports millions of jobs.
That is why President Barack Obama launched his America’s Great Outdoors initiative to help re-connect Americans with the outdoors and create local partnerships focused on the long-term health of our nation’s landscapes. In the past months, as part of that effort, USDA took steps to work with landowners, farmers and ranchers conserving these lands while promoting outdoor recreation opportunities that create jobs and drive economic growth. Read more »
A burn scar from a recent rangeland wildfire is evident in Kleberg County Texas – more than 3 million acres of rangeland have been lost to wildfires in Texas this year.
Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Bruce Nelson traveled to South Texas last week in the midst of the historic drought impacting most of Texas and the Southwest and adversely affecting thousands of agricultural producers. Nelson took the opportunity to visit with area farmers, ranchers and agribusiness representatives who are working hard to keep their operations going in the face of the natural disaster. He made a point to reassure everyone that Secretary Vilsack and the USDA are committed to helping affected producers. Read more »
There are new developments in two popular USDA programs that will support conservation of working lands for the benefit of wildlife, water quality, and recreation. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is expanding its efforts to encourage owners of privately held farm, ranch and forest land in eight additional states and one Tribal area to voluntarily open the land for public recreational use. It also announced the enrollment of acreage under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) is a grant program open to state and tribal governments that provides a financial incentive to encourage landowners to open their land to the public for wildlife-dependent recreation such as fishing or hunting. Read more »
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which has protected the nation’s natural resources since 1985, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
CRP was signed into law by former President Ronald Reagan – who’s centennial is being celebrated this year – as part of the 1985 Farm Bill that was reported to be one of the most massive agricultural reform bills in the nation’s history. It was touted by then Agriculture Secretary John Block as the “agricultural recovery program to put this industry back in the business of prosperity in the years to come.” Read more »
Photo of a steam bank enrolled in CCRP in Crook County, Wyoming.
Producers interested in offering land in an effort to protect millions of acres of topsoil from erosion and improve the nation’s natural resources, have until Friday, April 15, to do so. This is the second consecutive year that USDA has offered a general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up. Read more »
Secretary Vilsack announced there will be a CRP sign-up beginning March 14, with a goal of enrolling 4 million acres.
It’s not every day that a civil servant gets to feel like a rock star.
But at the 2011 National Pheasant Fest in Omaha, Nebraska this past weekend, employees of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) were a bit like celebrities to thousands of hunters and land managers who love pheasants. Pheasant Fest is a trade show that focuses on wildlife conservation, upland game bird hunting and wildlife habitat management and restoration. Read more »