The USDA is investing $26.6 million in 45 projects across the country. These projects were selected to encourage conservation initiatives in rural and urban areas. The investment will be matched by public and private entities, making the grand total $59 million.
The investment will go through the USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. As of 2009 CIG has funded 414 national projects and invested $173 million. The 45 new projects just announced will support the approach of attracting private capital for conservation on working lands.
“The Conservation Innovation Grant program is a highly competitive conservation grant program that helps put the very best conservation tools to work on privately held farms and forests, for maximum environmental impact,” said Vilsack. “This investment will offer farmers, ranchers and forest landowners new ways to protect their natural resources and new revenue streams to keep their operations viable, building on the record amount of conservation work that has already been done under this Administration. Demand for this type of support outpaces what USDA can provide alone, but outside partners are willing to make additional investments because they see the good it can do for the environment and for their communities.”
The selected projects focus on diverse areas. Issues covered include: pollinators; sage-grouse conservation; forest, carbon and corporate chain sustainability; and organic farming.