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News Release

The Nature Conservancy and USDA Announce Multi-State Cooperative Agreement

Contact:  Rhonda Nelson, Acting State Public Affairs Officer | Phone:  (605) 633-1414

Contact:  Chris Anderson, The Nature Conservancy | Phone:  (612) 845-2744

TOPEKA, KS, April 8, 2021 - The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announce the two organizations have entered into a five-year cooperative agreement to increase private land conservation in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and South Dakota (SD).

The two organizations have a mutual interest in successfully implementing the conservation programs authorized by federal legislation known as the Farm Bill, which is updated about every five years. The most recent Farm Bill passed with strong bipartisan support and was signed into law in late 2018.

Through this new agreement, TNC and the NRCS will prioritize the geographies and natural resource issues where the two organizations can work together to have more impact delivering conservation assistance across the Great Plains.

“This will be a new way of looking at conservation impacts across the entire landscape, not just individual places,” says Laura Broyles, NRCS Acting State Conservationist for SD.

The NRCS is a federal agency that provides planning, technical, and financial assistance to landowners to conserve the natural resources on their land through programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

“This agreement opens more opportunity for collaboration that crosses state lines much in the way nature is not confined by geo-political boundaries,” Ann Mulholland, Director for TNC’s Minnesota, North Dakota, and SD Chapter. “We’re looking forward to leveraging the staff and expertise of both organizations and ultimately get more conservation directly on the ground.”

With funding from the NRCS, South Dakota State University, South Dakota Corn Growers Association, and TNC are currently developing a roadmap for optimal implementation of conservation practices to reduce risk of drought and flooding. The NRCS and TNC are also already working together to help landowners improve the health and resilience of prairie streams on private land in western SD.