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USDA unveils nutrient management initiative

The USDA will direct additional funds toward voluntary nutrient management projects on the farm and streamline the process of applying for funding, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. Vilsack said nutrient management would “help farmers address local resource concerns and global food security issues while also improving their bottom line.”

Under the streamlining initiative, which will include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program, the USDA would use a ranking system for pre-approval and expedite processing of applications for nutrient management practices. A USDA spokesperson was not immediately available to say how much additional funding would be offered in the fiscal year opening on Oct. 1.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service also announced a streamlined funding opportunity for up to $40 million in nutrient management grants through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

In addition, the USDA announced an outreach campaign focused on the benefits of nutrient management. It said farmers could save an average of $30 per acre through steps such as reducing nitrogen loss and minimizing nutrient runoff.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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