Nature Conservancy and USDA Announce Multi-State Cooperative AgreementThu, 08 Apr 2021 08:05:16 CDT
The Nature Conservancy and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announce the two organizations have entered into a five-year cooperative agreement to increase private land conservation in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The two organizations have a mutual interest in successfully implementing the conservation programs authorized by federal legislation known as the Farm Bill, which is updated about every five years. The most recent Farm Bill passed with strong bipartisan support and was signed into law in late 2018.
Through this new agreement, The Nature Conservancy and NRCS will prioritize the geographies and natural resource issues where the two organizations can work together to have more impact delivering conservation assistance across the Great Plains.
“This will be a new way of looking at conservation impacts across the entire landscape, not just individual places,” says Gary O’Neill, NRCS state conservationist for Oklahoma.
NRCS is a federal agency that provides planning, technical and financial assistance to landowners to conserve the natural resources on their land through programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
“This agreement opens more opportunity for collaboration that crosses state lines much in the way nature is not confined by geo-political boundaries,” says Mike Fuhr, TNC’s state director for Oklahoma. “We’re looking forward to leveraging the staff and expertise of both organizations and ultimately get more conservation directly on the ground.”
NRCS and TNC have previously teamed up to increase pollinator habitat on Oklahoma’s producer lands through the Okies for Monarchs outreach program. The two organizations also work together to protect grazing lands in the Red Hills with conservation easements.
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