TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is teaming with businesses, nonprofits and others on a five-year, $2.4 billion program that will fund locally designed soil and water conservation projects nationwide, Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.
Authorized by the new farm law enacted earlier this year, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program is intended to involve the private sector more directly in planning and funding environmental protection initiatives tied to agriculture.
“It’s a new approach to conservation that is really going to encourage people to think in very innovative and creative ways,” Vilsack said.
He described the projects to be funded as “clean water startup operations” that will benefit communities and watersheds, a departure from the department’s more traditional approach of focusing on individual operators adopting practices such as no-till cultivation or planting buffer strips to prevent runoff into streams.
Universities, local and tribal governments, companies and sporting groups are among those eligible to devise plans and seek grants.
“By establishing new public-private partnerships, we can have an impact that’s well beyond what the federal government could accomplish on its own,” Vilsack said. “These efforts keep our land resilient and water clean, and promote tremendous economic growth in agriculture, construction, tourism and outdoor recreation and other industries.”
In addition to protecting the environment, the projects will bolster the rural economy by supporting tourism and outdoor recreation jobs while avoiding pollution that would cost more to clean up, he said.
USDA will spend $1.2 billion - including $400 million the first year - and raise an equal amount from participants. Successful applications will include offers of cash, labor or other contributions, as well as plans for achieving measurable solutions and using new approaches, said Jason Weller, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Vilsack announced the program in Michigan, home state of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, primary writer of the farm bill with Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma. They held a news conference in Bay City near Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, where nutrient runoff from croplands causes algae blooms that degrade water quality. Stabenow said she expected the area to generate several funding proposals.
Kellogg Co. is working with The Nature Conservancy on a project designed to reduce runoff in the Saginaw Bay watershed, said Diane Holdorf, the cereal company’s chief sustainability officer. Kellogg, based in Battle Creek, buys wheat for its cereals from farms in the area.
The program establishes three pots of money for grants. Thirty-five percent of total funding will be divided among “critical” areas including the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Columbia, Colorado and Mississippi river basins, the Longleaf Pine Range, prairie grasslands and the California Bay Delta.
Additionally, 40 percent will go to regional or multi-state projects selected on a competitive basis and 25 percent to state-level projects.
The California Rice Commission plans to seek funding of initiatives to expand water bird habitat in flooded Central Valley rice fields, said Paul Buttner, manager of environmental affairs. Rice farms are an indispensable waterfowl refuge because most of the original wetlands have been developed, he said.
Working with the USDA and other partners, the rice commission has developed practices that can make fields more hospitable for birds such as draining them more gradually ahead of planting season and building nesting islands, Buttner said. The new program could attract more participants, he said.
The New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts will develop proposals for combating invasive plants that suck too much water from the ground and ranching practices that could slow the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, Executive Director Debbie Hughes said.
State and county Police are accompanying and marching WITH protesters in Ferguson. THESE are good cops.
They’re not good cops. They realized that upping the ante only worked in the protestors’ favor and led to large protests around the country. Now they’re pacifying the protestors in hopes that they’ll eventually stop protesting and go home.
It’s no different than when the army was called into Ludlow to break up the fighting between the Colorado National Guard and the coal miners during the early 20th century. The National Guard was shooting strikers, burning their children alive and all kinds of horrible things. The Governor and President let it continue until the miners armed themselves and launched a violent campaign in retaliation, which endangered big capital. At that point the President sent in the army to “bring peace” to the region. Things went back to normal, workers continued being exploited, and justice was never found for most of the human rights violations that occurred. The soldiers who ended the conflict weren’t good, they were conniving backstabbers.
This is the exact same thing, just a repeat of history. The establishment doesn’t want things to escalate in Ferguson and elsewhere, becoming a threat to its stability or existence. The establishment doesn’t care about Michael Brown or any other Black person who’s been killed without justification. They just want the dissidence to cease and Black victims of police brutality to be forgotten.
If Capt. Johnson cared about police brutality he would defect and inform the world of the corruption and abuse that goes in in the police force. Instead he panders to the system and actively works to preserve a white supremacist power structure every day of his life.
"Curing AIDS? Shit, that’s like Cadillac making a car that lasts for 50 years. And you know they can do it, but they ain’t going to do nothing that fucking dumb. Shit, they got metal on the Space Shuttle that can go around the Moon and withstand temperatures of up to 20,000 degrees, you mean to tell me you don’t think they can make an El Dorado with a fuckin’ bumper that don’t fall off?"
- Chris Rock (“Bigger and Blacker”, 1999)
so much truth
|—||Captain America (we could really use a guy like him right about now)|
Land of the free home of the rich
What really scares me is that they all have significantly cheaper health care AND education, which means Americans not only make the least, they pay the most.
I NEVER USE THIS WORD BUT THIS IS I C O N I C
just a small town girl. Living in a racist, insensitive, sexist, homophobic world,
(cant take the midnight train ‘cause im fuckin scared)
plot twist: humanity learns from its history
I’m going to thank every single one of you personally who reblogs this. This is important.
Bainbridge Island, WA
For a couple days now a woman has been sitting in a tree on Bainbridge Island to block the construction of a mini-mall and to protect the trees the would be clear cut and the ecosystem that would be devastated. We noticed that despite the media spectacle and the police presence there was really no one watching the woods. Dawning black from head to…