CONSERVATION ASSISTANCE FUNDS REALLOCATED
USDA has reallocated nearly $58.6 million to be used for conservation technical and financial assistance. "This reallocation of 2002 farm law funding will allow more producers to make conservation part of their farm and ranch operations," Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said.
The reallocated money come from unused funds previously distributed to the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service state offices, national level reserves, and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) "performance holdback," as called for in the EQIP final rule. This performance incentive is money held back at the national level to be awarded to states that achieve a high level of program efficiency and optimize environmental benefits. Eight states received an EQIP performance incentive due to efficiency demonstrated: Arkansas, California, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas.
This redistribution will help additional producers get the conservation benefits that come from conservation planning and voluntary conservation programs, such as EQIP, Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and Conservation Reserve Program.
In addition to the federal dollars, conservation on private land is supported by contributions from state and local sources, tribes, conservation districts and nongovernmental organizations, as well as from landowners themselves who implement conservation practices and resource management systems.