USDA offers $350 million for land restoration

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has $350 million available to restore grasslands, wetlands and working lands.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the funding for states and private partners and will come from the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, a part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

"The benefits of restoring, enhancing and protecting these working agricultural lands and critical wetlands cannot be overstated," Vilsack said. "USDA is committed to preserving working agricultural lands to help protect the long-term viability of farming across the country as well as to restoring and protecting vital sensitive wetlands that provide important wildlife habitat and improve water quality."

The funding will be used to protect critical water resources and wildlife habitat, and encourage private owners to maintain land for farming and ranching. Landowners can also limit future development on these resources by the voluntary sale of an easement. This will protect the food supply because the land will continue to be agricultural and not developed.

Native American, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have grass land or farmland protection programs may all partner with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to purchase conservation easements.

Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture

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