Conservation Assistance to Be Supported By $70 Million Investment

Brian GermanAgri-Business, USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $70 million in initiatives aimed at enhancing outreach to underserved farming communities, expanding access to conservation assistance, and promoting career opportunities in agriculture. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has chosen 139 projects with various organizations for one to three-year partnerships to encourage participation in NRCS programs. These initiatives will extend their reach to beginning farmers, limited resource farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, veterans, and students interested in agricultural careers.

Conservation Assistance

The Equity in Conservation Outreach Cooperative Agreements encompass projects that educate and demonstrate the benefits of NRCS programs, develop community partnerships to protect farmland ecosystems, inform small-scale and urban farmers about conservation opportunities, and promote climate-smart conservation practices. These projects will employ program outreach and technical assistance to address five NRCS priority areas: local natural resource issues, conservation career opportunities, climate-smart conservation adoption, small-scale and urban agriculture conservation, and conservation leadership development.

Among the selected projects, the Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) in California aim to enhance outreach and conservation assistance to historically underserved communities. Their efforts include workshops, technical assistance, and promoting conservation careers. Similarly, the National Center For Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will focus on Latino farmers in California, Texas, and other regions, offering practical information on regenerative practices through on-farm demonstrations and educational opportunities. These investments build upon the NRCS’s 2022 commitment of $50 million in partnerships across 44 states and territories to expand access to climate-smart agriculture and forestry conservation assistance.

“The projects selected under the Equity in Conservation Outreach Cooperative Agreements will partner with NRCS to better ensure underserved producers receive the benefits our conservation programs deliver, including those oversubscribed programs that received a boost of funding from the Inflation Reduction Act,” NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said in a press release. “NRCS is investing in continued support of community-based organizations and partners that are instrumental in supporting conservation outreach to underserved producers and underserved communities.” 

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West