COLCHESTER, Dec. 17, 2020 – The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) continued its conservation work across the country, and in Vermont, despite a tough 2020 marked with a pandemic. The agency helped farmers, ranchers and forest landowners implement conservation practices on their working lands, which help conserve natural resource such as soil, water and wildlife as well as boost producers’ bottom lines. Additionally, NRCS launched new online tools that increased the efficiency, effectiveness and delivery of crucial programs.
Across the nation, NRCS helped develop 100,000 conservation plans and invested $1.32 billion through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to put conservation practices on 10 million acres, as well as $507 million through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to put conservation enhancements on 9.3 million acres.
From soil health, water quality, wildlife habitat, and development of a new decision tool for customers on farmers.gov, NRCS continued its commitment to get conservation on the ground.
In Vermont, NRCS worked side-by-side with a host of conservation partners, farmers and landowners to implement over 29,000 acres of conservation practices ranging from cover crops, crop rotation, no-till and reduced till, nutrient management, and prescribed grazing. In fiscal year 2020, a total of $18.5 million dollars was obligated to Vermont farmers and landowners to protect and improve natural resources. This includes over 10 million dollars through EQIP and nearly $650,000 through CSP. “NRCS helps people help the land in the good times and the challenging times,” said VT NRCS State Conservationist Vicky Drew.
All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including those that restrict in-person visits or require appointments. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, NRCS or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Our program delivery staff will continue to work with our producers by phone, email and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.