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USDA offers assistance to county’s landowners

USDA offers assistance to county’s landowners

Posted: Monday, July 12, 2010 9:01 pm

NASHVILLE — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing cost-share opportunities to private landowners and producers to install certain conservation practices as part of the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI).
Eligible applicants in Tennessee and 11 other states will receive technical assistance and $30 million in financial assistance through the initiative. Tennessee received over $784,000 in financial assistance for use in three approved watersheds.
Participants will be chosen through a competitive process and will voluntarily implement conservation and management practices that prevent, control and trap nutrient and sediment in runoff from agricultural land. Landowners in the approved areas are encouraged to apply before the July 30 deadline.
Under the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, 76 projects were selected nationwide. Three projects were selected in Tennessee: the Obion, South Fork Obion and Red River watersheds. Tennessee counties included are: Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Obion, Robertson, Sumner and Weakley.
“This initiative is important because it will greatly reduce the amount of agriculture-related runoff that has been impacting areas of the Mississippi basin all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Tennessee State Conservationist Kevin Brown of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “So, the more producers who take part in MRBI, the more improvement we’ll see in our overall water quality.”
The MRBI is being administered under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program-Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the lead agency in submitting proposals for this initiative, worked in conjunction with other conservation partner agencies and organizations to provide research and data and identify monitoring needs.
Interested landowners are encouraged to contact local NRCS offices for more information. NRCS is celebrating 75 years of helping people help the land in 2010. Since 1935, the NRCS conservation delivery system has advanced a unique partnership with state and local governments and private landowners delivering conservation based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests.
Published in The Messenger 7.12.10

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