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USDA says $15M in Targeted Conservation Help Available to Farmers in Impoverished Communities this Year

 

USDA - U.S. Department of AgricultureNashville, TN – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will target over $885,197 this year in technical and financial conservation assistance for Tennessee farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in persistent poverty rural areas.

StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity is a USDA effort that focuses high-priority assistance in rural communities in 20 states with a special emphasis on historically underserved farmers, ranchers and communities in counties with persistent poverty.

Since 2010, USDA has partnered through StrikeForce with more than 400 community organizations, businesses, foundations, universities and other groups to support 80,300 projects and usher more than $9.7 billion in investments into rural America.

“Although USDA is always available to help these producers, the targeted funding through StrikeForce, along with the pooling of  public resources and local expertise, is continuing to grow rural economies,” said Kevin Brown, NRCS State Conservationist. “This is a strategy that is working in rural America, and I am pleased that we continue to build on these efforts to bring assistance to areas that need it the most.”

Through StrikeForce, NRCS is now working with 80 percent more farmers and ranchers in the identified persistent poverty counties and has invested a total of $652 million in targeted conversation funding since 2010.

“StrikeForce provides an important opportunity to help producers in these priority areas improve their lands or start a career in agriculture,” John Rissler, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs said. “We are excited to see such tremendous growth in this initiative and look forward to helping even more producers adopt conservation measures.”

Producers can visit their local USDA Service Center and apply anytime for StrikeForce conservation assistance through the 2014 Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Producers can work with NRCS on a number of conservation activities, including:  installing cross-fencing on a ranch to protect soil and help cattle; using prescribed burning to enhance a forest; or installing a more efficient irrigation system to conserve water.

“Conservation efforts help producers make a living while promoting clean air and water, healthy soil and wildlife habitat,” Kevin Brown said. “These practices also give long-term resistance to extreme weather events, including drought and flooding.”

More than 700 rural counties, parishes, boroughs and tribal reservations in 20 states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.  StrikeForce is creating conservation opportunities in rural communities and tribes across the nation.

For more information and StrikeForce successes, visit the NRCS StrikeForce webpage or your local NRCS office.


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