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Water in the News

September 24, 2014

USDA unveils new conservation innovation grants totaling $15.7 million
Delta Farm Press

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that 47 organizations will receive a total of $15.7 million in Conservation Innovation Grants aimed accelerating new ways to improve conservation efforts on private lands. The funds, which are made possible through the Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014 farm bill), are going to a variety of organizations, not all of which are usually identified with production agriculture.

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US to spend $328 million on conservation easements
The Associated Press via US News

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $328 million in funding to protect and restore farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the country. The initiative, using money provided in the new five-year farm bill, will buy conservation easements from farmers to protect the environment, help wildlife populations and promote outdoor recreation, the USDA said in its announcement. The agency selected 380 projects nationwide covering 32,000 acres of prime farmland, 45,000 acres of grasslands and 52,000 acres of wetlands.

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Vilsack provides 6-month update on farm bill implementation process
McPherson Sentine

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced continued progress on implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Barack Obama signed into law nearly six months ago on Feb. 7. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit and helps grow America’s economy. Since the farm bill was signed into law, USDA has made progress throughout all 12 titles of the bill, including conservation.

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EPA regional head and ag leaders talk water quality
Ag Professional

Karl Brooks, the Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 administrator for the states of Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and nine tribal nations, addressed an audience of farmers and agribusiness personnel at an open forum and panel discussion, “Bridging Troubled Waters — the Outlook for Water Quality and Agriculture,” at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. The allowed attendees to listen and engage with key figures in government and the agriculture industry via an open discussion on water quality and nutrient reduction.

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Research team probes climate’s impact on groundwater quality

Climate change and increasing food production demands both influence groundwater quality. To better understand the links between climate, agriculture and groundwater, University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers will investigate climate’s impact on groundwater contamination from chemicals used in crop and animal production.

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NMPF, Clean Water Agencies to collaborate on watershed improvement

The National Milk Producers Federation and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote increased cooperation and communication between the two organizations in their efforts to make watershed-level water quality improvements. This MOU marks an important milestone in efforts to strengthen ties between urban and rural sectors on conservation activities to improve local water quality and the environment.

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Development of nutrient, erosion management tools
Ag Professional

Iowa State University researchers expect to unveil later this year a set of decision-making tools for best management practices to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and erosion/sediment losses. The Web-based tools will provide the latest BMP information in one place that can be customized by producers.

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