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Secretary's Column: USDA Works for Farmers, Sportsmen and the Environment

Posted by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Conservation
Mar 30, 2012

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.

First, along with the Department of the Interior, USDA recently announced a new $33 million plan to use innovative approaches to restore and protect habitats for wildlife, including seven at-risk species and other vulnerable game species.

Working with sportsmen, this Working Lands for Wildlife partnership will help the economy by promoting abundant wildlife habitat that offers great opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and other types of outdoor recreation. To help raise a generation of Americans who are excited about spending time outdoors, USDA’s Forest Service provided funding to enhance outdoor children’s programs in 18 states.

Second, we are improving and strengthening the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which currently enrolls 30 million acres of idled farmland to support farmer income, clean our water and preserve soil.

In the past months, USDA announced the opportunity for producers to enroll a total of 1.75 million acres of land in new CRP initiatives to preserve grasslands, wetlands and wildlife habitat. As crop prices remain strong and an estimated 6.5 million CRP acres expire later this year, this effort will help us target our resources to the most environmentally sensitive lands. It will improve farm income and job-creating recreation opportunities, encouraging producers to enroll in practices benefitting pollinators, ducks, upland birds and critical ecosystems, with an increased signing incentive. With this effort – alongside a broader ‘general’ sign-up for the program – we’ll continue to add to CRP’s 25-year legacy of addressing our nation’s most critical resource issues.

In the years to come, USDA will continue to build partnerships and strengthen our conservation programs to promote good farmer incomes, as well as opportunities for sportsman and outdoor recreation. Our nation’s lands provide us with abundant food, fiber and fuel. They are an essential piece of vibrant and diverse rural economies. Best of all, conserving farms, ranches, and forests also means a healthier environment for the next generation and a stronger economy in the decades to come.

You can find the audio version of the Secretary’s Column here.

Category/Topic: Conservation

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Bill Stanley
Apr 02, 2012

"USDA Works for Farmers, Sportsmen and the Environment" === ... but not for taxpayers.

Apr 02, 2012

“USDA Works for Farmers, Sportsmen and the Environment” What a perversion of the truth! The USDA is in collusion with the multinational corporations in an agenda to drive people off their farms and destroy their livelihood, all for the sake of eliminating any competition for the multinationals. Look up the definition of fascism - it’s a partnership power grab between government and private business based on economic interests. We’ve got organized criminals in charge in our government. The USDA is nothing but another unconstitutional bureaucracy determined to destroy our people and steal private property in the process.

The ultimate goal of the USDA is to eliminate any and ALL food production in this country and pave the way for cheap imports into our country. This elimination agenda even includes your little tomato plant on your porch. Our food is the last frontier to be conquered in the war to outsource every bit of productivity in this country. With our taxes, we fund the noose that has been placed around our necks. He who controls the food, controls the man.

John Dach
Apr 02, 2012

What a CROCK!!!!!!! The only "farmers" USDA or the illegal Obama administration supports are the mega/corporate farms and THEY are the ones creating a nightmare in with poor nutrition, poor soil conservation, pushing GMO's, and on and on....... This is a total joke and YOU should be ashamed of yourself, but I know you are not as you do not know what the hell you are doing. I wish you and yours were the first to have to consume the toxic products that you and this administration are foisting upon the unknowing/uneducated public. Shameful to say the least!!!!!!!!!

Apr 03, 2012

If the title stated a well-known fact, you wouldn't have to write a persuasive article to try to convince people. It seems like the caveat at the end of the sentence was omitted. I'm pretty sure the unedited title read, "USDA Works for Farmers, Sportsmen and the Environment after first ensuring the whims of corporate interests and delusional Congressional members are satisfied."

Jerry Dillard-ETA
Apr 17, 2012

The blog says, the USDA supports the protection of our soil... how then can the USDA support the use of nitrogen fertilizer used by farmers that is known to degrade soil, destroy microorganisms,dangerously impact our Environments thru increased harmful GHG that leaches from fertilizer into our air, water & Oceans ? N20 is 310 times greater impact on global warming than carbon dioxide.
This practice of N fertilizer over use has also increased demand for water (70% of the worlds water is now used for Agriculture), accelerated reduction in mineral content in soil, which means lower nutrition & taste in foods grown today. At the cellular level in the body, the mitochondria requires minerals to promote individual energy & build immunity.
Now Monsanto is allowed to produce GMO, taking us one step further down a path of destructive Agriculture practices in this wonder 68.8% of our population suffers from obesity or being overweight, this is now a pandemic...
Disease is also at an all time high.

What has happened to America being the leader in the world, protecting their People and Planet ? This on going continuation of destructive Agriculture thru the use of bio-tech Agribusiness to grow our food is shameful..

These are facts being denied daily by the USDA...