$15 M in targeted conservation help available to farmers and ranchers in impoverished communities this year
Lexington, KY, May 21, 2014 –USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will target more than $840,000 this year in technical and financial conservation assistance for Kentucky farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in persistent poverty rural areas.
StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity is a USDA effort that focuses high-priority assistance in rural communities in 20 states, including Kentucky, with a special emphasis on historically underserved farmers, ranchers and communities in counties with persistent poverty. Since 2010, USDA has partnered through StrikeForce with more than 400 community organizations, businesses, foundations, universities and other groups to support 80,300 projects and usher more than $9.7 billion in investments into rural America.
“Although USDA is always available to help these producers, the targeted funding through StrikeForce, along with the pooling of public resources and local expertise, is continuing to grow rural economies,” said Tony Nott, Acting State Conservationist. “This is a strategy that is working in rural America, and I am pleased that we continue to build on these efforts to bring assistance to areas that need it the most.”
Producers can visit their local USDA Service Center and apply anytime for StrikeForce conservation assistance through the 2014 Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). In addition to the targeted StrikeForce funding, Kentucky NRCS will utilize some of their regular EQIP funds to provide assistance in Kentucky’s 73 StrikeForce counties.
Producers can work with NRCS on a number of conservation activities, including: installing cross-fencing on a farm to protect soil and help cattle; using forest stand improvement to enhance woodlands; or installing a seasonal high tunnel to extend the growing season.
“Conservation efforts help producers make a living while promoting clean air and water, healthy soil and wildlife habitat,” Nott said. “These practices also give long-term resistance to extreme weather events, including drought and flooding.”
StrikeForce is creating conservation opportunities in rural communities and tribes across the nation. For more information and StrikeForce successes, visit the NRCS StrikeForce webpage or your local NRCS office.
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