2014 Farm Bill streamlines, consolidates conservation programs
The 2014 Farm Bill is streamlining key conservation programs while investing about $18.7 billion in conservation programs offered by USDA's natural Resources Conservation Service over the next five years. The bill provides about $3.4 billion for fiscal 2014 for NRCS-administered programs.
"The new Farm Bill continues to equip farmers, ranchers and forest landowners with the tools they need to address resource concerns while helping the environment," Mississippi State Conservationist, Kurt Readus said. "NRCS is moving swiftly to get the consolidated and expanded programs implemented".
Current contracts enrolled in Farm Bill programs are not affected.
Key program changes include:
Easement programs: The agency's key easement programs will be merged into a new program called the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, or ACEP. ACEP includes the former Wetlands Reserve Program, Grasslands Reserves Program and Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program. Funding for wetland and grassland protection expired September 30, 2013, and the 2014 Farm Bill reinstates funding for these critical efforts under ACEP.
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