St. Paul, Minnesota, Dec. 27, 2020 – The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Minnesota, continued its conservation work across the state despite a tough 2020 marked with a pandemic and several natural disasters. The agency helped farmers, ranchers and landowners implement conservation practices on their working lands, which help conserve natural resource such as soil, water and wildlife as well as boost producers’ bottom lines. Additionally, NRCS launched new online tools that increased the efficiency, effectiveness and delivery of crucial programs.
“The year of 2020 has been a year of unprecedented and unpredictable challenges. We know how to help with natural disasters and even economic challenges, but this year’s restrictions on how we do business forced us to be creative to provide continued quality customer service to our farmers and ranchers,” offered Troy Daniell, NRCS-MN State Conservationist. “It made me proud to see how our folks in the field were able to perform their work, resulting in another year of strong implementation of conservation measures. It is humbling to see the resilience of our producers, our employees, and our partners who have such dedication to our mission and vision.”
Key highlights from 2020 include: Working in close collaboration with our partners, we signed more than 2,000 conservation plans for nearly 70,000 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Minnesota is still one of the top states in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) with more than $81M in payments made to Minnesota producers this year.
Nationally, the NRCS:
developed over 100,000 conservation plans.
co-invested 1.32 billion thru the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to put conservation practices on 10 million acres, with an additional $507 M thru the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to put conservation enhancements on 9.3 million acres.
provided financial assistance to help producers adopt soil health management systems on 18 million acres and to use no-till methods on 7.3 million acres.
continued its work thru the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) and the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) in 379 priority watersheds for fiscal year 2021.
created a Conservation Concerns Tool and other new resources that enables landowners to learn about conservation and find solutions online at farmers.gov
awarded more than $30M for conservation innovation thru the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)