Skip to main content

Conservation

USDA Looks to Conservation Finance to Deliver More Working Lands Conservation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the nation’s largest funder of conservation on private land. For decades, NRCS staff have worked hand-in-hand with America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and technical assistance, delivering valuable practices like cover crops, no-till, windbreaks, grazing management strategies and manure management facilities. Despite these efforts, less than ten percent of our nation’s working lands receive NRCS assistance in any given year. NRCS is constantly trying to close this gap, expanding the reach of its programs through innovative grant programs like the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) and the Alternative Funding Arrangement component of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP AFA). Moreover, in recent years, the agency has begun exploring conservation finance as a new tool to deliver support for a diverse array of projects, benefiting a larger percentage of farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners.

Agricultural Innovation Takes Shape in Great Lakes Region, Helping Solve Solutions Today for Challenges Tomorrow

If we plan to survive in the future, we must address today’s most pressing concerns in agriculture. Preparing the land to continue to meet food, fiber, fuel, feed, and climate demands is a tall order to fill for growing populations. USDA has aligned all its resources, programs and research to give farmers with the tools they need to help meet these challenges.

APHIS Wildlife Biologists Aid Squirrel Recovery on the Delmarva

Many claim that 2020 has been a year of chaos and calamity, but for one rare squirrel, it might be a year of hope and new beginnings. The Delmarva Fox Squirrel (DFS) is a subspecies of fox squirrel found on the eastern shore of Maryland, Southern Delaware and Virginia. This pudgy, slow squirrel with its signature size and silvery-white coat has become a conservation success story in Maryland. Habitat loss along with other additive factors landed them on the Federal endangered species list in 1967. Protection and management efforts benefited DFS and in 2015, populations reached stable limits and they were officially delisted in Maryland. In parts of Delaware, DFS populations were not as prolific and numbers began to dwindle over time leaving only a few small populations.

The Fox Canyon Water Market: A Market-Based Tool for Groundwater Conservation Goes Live

Ventura County, California, is an agricultural powerhouse. In 2017, its revenues from agriculture were an estimated $2.1 billion. It also faces extraordinary population pressure, with nearly 450 people per square mile – about five times the average population density of the United States. Both agriculture and infrastructure are dependent on, and impacted by, the availability of water – which has itself been impacted by California’s rapidly-diminishing groundwater reserves.

Conservation Tools Help Producers Make Positive Impacts on Changing Climate

America’s farmers and ranchers are helping put the nation on track to a healthier and more resilient environment in the face of a changing climate. While agriculture only contributes 9 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, it offers a variety of opportunities to reduce emissions and cut carbon from the atmosphere. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is committed to help producers become even better conservation stewards by providing the tools they need to do the job.

USDA Observes the 10 Year Anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Today marks 10 years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. USDA, through its Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and U.S. Forest Service, worked alongside other federal agencies to respond to this disaster and supported the Gulf of Mexico region in its prevention, preparedness and restoration efforts.

From Vacant Lot to Community Gathering Place, Water Quality Program Awarded for Innovation

Deep in the heart of the Corn Belt, a different kind of agriculture is taking root in the city of Peoria, Illinois. Back in 2016, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded Chicago-based Greenprint Partners a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). Partnering with the city and other local community groups, a long-vacant lot in downtown Peoria has been transformed into a vibrant community gathering space with green infrastructure, an urban forest, and a working farm.