United States: USDA launches initiative to help farmers improve water quality

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will invest US$41 million in a threeyear initiative to support the work of farmers in the states of Ohio, Michigan and Indiana to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB). The initiative will help farmers and ranchers implement sciencebased conservation measures to reduce runoff from farms entering the region’s waterways. The initiative will expand conservation and financial assistance opportunities available to WLEB farmers and ranchers who want to take additional steps to improve the quality of the water feeding the lake. This funding is in addition to the US$36 million the agency has already planned to make available in the basin through the 2014 Farm Bill, for a combined three-year investment of US$77 million to improve water quality and support sustainable production in the basin.