Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Farmers flock to federal wetlands-reserve program, mainly along the Mississippi River

Interest among farmers and landowners in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program has significantly grown over the last three years since the program's enactment, according to the USDA. Natural Resources Deputy Undersecretary Ann Mills said the program was ready to fund $25 million in projects before a new request for proposals was sent out earlier this year.

The focus of the program is in the Mississippi River basin, which has constantly flooded in the past several years. Mills told Julie Harker of Brownfield that many farmers in the watershed are dealing with flooded land and the program allows them to make money while gaining better flood protection, improving water quality and increasing habitat for migratory birds.

More than 7,000 acres between the Mississippi River and its levees are enrolled in the program this year, with the potential for 30,000 acres to eventually be protected. Wetlands projects are funded in Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. (Read more)

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