Information was released on January 10th about a new USDA $50 million investment, across 118 partnerships, to expand access to conservation assistance for climate-smart agriculture and forestry. Funded on behalf of the Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements, resources will be distributed to support a series of two-year projects that are aimed to expand the delivery of conservation assistance, specifically to those who are new to farming, low income, military vets or socially disadvantaged.
Agiculture Secretary Tom Vilsack commented, “We are committed to equal opportunity for those we serve, and we are taking bold, historic action to advance equity and root out generations of systemic racism. These partnerships are another example of how we are helping ensure historically underserved producers can more fully access and participate in our programs and services.”
The new projects will focus on key areas of conservation including improving soil health and water quality, providing habitat for at-risk wildlife, improving natural resource and supporting local and regional food systems.
Also announced January 10th were details about a $2 million USDA investment that will provide risk management education and implement training programs for producers with small-scale operations or that have been historically underserved. Funding will be allocated to nonprofit organizations, universities and county cooperative extension offices to develop resources that arm producer with the tools and skills needed to effectively manage the risks and challenges of their operation.
RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger commented on the importance of the investment, stating, “Agriculture is an inherently risky business, and a strong farm safety net is key to sustaining and ensuring the success of American producers. We’re committed to improving access to crop insurance, and our partnerships with organizations help us reach communities that have historically lacked access to training and resources.”
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