Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA will begin issuing Conservation Stewardship and Conservation Security Program payments this month to thousands of farmers and ranchers in all fifty states to help maintain and improve the natural resources on their land. The yearly contract payments totaling $500 million are authorized under the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills.
A total of $320 million in payments is associated with 20,500 new Conservation Stewardship Program contracts initiated in fiscal year 2010. An additional $180 million will be issued to honor the 15,000 older Conservation Security Program contracts for payments due in FY 2011. The majority of farmers and ranchers will receive their payments by mid-December.
"By taking steps to enhance the quality of their land, farmers and ranchers are helping to preserve their land and their way of life for generations to come," Vilsack said. "These landowners should be commended for their commitment to environmental stewardship."