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News Release

USDA Targets Conservation Funding for Great Lakes

EAST LANSING, July 2, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make $6.3 million in conservation financial assistance available to private landowners in Michigan to help improve water quality and wildlife habitat around the Great Lakes.

The financial assistance is available to farmers and agricultural producers in selected Michigan watersheds through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Farmers and landowners interested in obtaining USDA financial assistance to implement conservation improvements on their land must apply before Aug. 1, 2014. The financial assistance is available to agricultural producers in the Saginaw Bay area, the Western Lake Erie Basin area in southeast Michigan, and in areas of Northern Michigan near the Great Lakes.

“By implementing conservation activities like planting cover crops and installing buffer strips, farmers can help improve water quality in the Great Lakes. This funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a great opportunity for farmers to help protect this valuable Michigan, and international, resource,” said NRCS State Conservationist Garry Lee.

A portion of the USDA funding is targeted to reducing the amount of phosphorus that runs off of agricultural land and enters the Great Lakes. Phosphorus runoff from farm land and other sources is responsible for algae blooms that damage aquatic habitat and water quality. Phosphorus runoff from farm land can be greatly reduced by adopting conservation practices like cover crops, conservation tillage and buffer strips. The USDA offers financial assistance for these and other conservation practices.

More information including eligibility area maps and local office contact information is available on the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service website at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.