NRCS: Good Job, farmers and Ranchers! 2013 a Banner Year for Voluntary ConservationMon, 13 Jan 2014 10:33:17 CST
The 2013 numbers are in and they show the importance of voluntary, locally based conservation. Data just released by the Natural Resources Conservation Service shows how the USDA agency in partnership farmers and ranchers across the country conserved and protected natural resources on tens of millions of acres of America's privately-owned lands last year.
Together, NRCS and conservation-minded farmers, ranchers and other partners:
-- Developed conservation plans for more than 43.8 million acres.
-- Enrolled more than 279,000 acres into conservation easements, setting aside valuable wetlands, grasslands and farmlands. These landscapes help create wildlife habitat, clean air and water and lead to other environmental benefits.
-- Worked with producers in the Ogallala Aquifer region, the nation's breadbasket, to implement conservation practices that use water wisely on more than 70,000 acres.
-- Improved habitat for at-risk wildlife. Two initiatives geared toward the lesser prairie chicken and sage grouse put conservation practices on more than 220,000 acres and 570,000 acres, respectively.
-- Assisted producers in the Mississippi River basin improve water quality, restore wetlands and improve wildlife habitat on more than 255,000 acres.
Helped landowners in 9 states improve sustainability and profitability of longleaf pine forests, an iconic forest of the Southeast, on more than 50,000 acres.
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