Senator Stabenow Announces $370 Million Farm Bill Investment to Preserve Water Quality, Environment

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, announced that over 100 projects will receive a historic $370 million through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program – a new, innovative conservation initiative in the 2014 Farm Bill. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program uses diverse public-private partnerships to achieve conservation goals at local and community levels. Sen. Stabenow joined U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in May to launch the national conservation initiative.

“Today’s announcement is truly unprecedented and paves the way for innovative conservation projects,” said Stabenow. “Businesses, farmers, non-profits and conservation leaders have a tremendous desire to protect water quality, preserve wildlife habitats, and keep soil healthy. The work accomplished through these public-private partnerships will have a lasting impact on our land, water and air.”

USDA will provide $1.2 billion in funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program over the five-year life of the Farm Bill. This funding can leverage an additional $1.2 billion from partners for a total of $2.4 billion for conservation. Through the program, partners propose conservation projects to improve soil health, water quality and water use efficiency, wildlife habitat, and other related natural resources on private lands. Additionally, USDA has designated eight Critical Conservation Areas across the country, which provide an opportunity for additional funding to address water quality issues. These include the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Mississippi River Basin, Longleaf Pine Range, Columbia River Basin, California Bay Delta, Prairie Grasslands, and the Colorado River Basin.

For a full list of awarded projects, click here

The 2014 Farm Bill represents the nation’s biggest investment in private land conservation and is one of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation in generations.