In addition to America's working lands, our forest lands are providing new opportunities in conservation that benefit rural communities. USDA has undertaken new measures designed to modernize forest restoration and achieve the maximum benefit for landowners and the environment.
- USDA has treated or harvested more than 500,000 acres for timber as part of 23 new "Collaborative Forest Restoration Projects." These efforts reduce fire risk and create jobs in rural America.
- USDA has sold more than 10.3 million board feet of timber since 2009 from National Forest lands – and to ensure modern Forest management, USDA released and implemented a new Planning Rule to balance forest care and restoration with commonsense job creation.
To help spur innovation in conservation, USDA has invested in new research, monitoring and coordination efforts that help researchers and producers enhance conservation benefits on the land.
- More than 1,000 Conservation Innovation Grants since 2009 have helped to fund technical assistance, research and capacity-building for innovative new conservation efforts and sustainable growing practices. For example, a CIG partnership with Michigan State University has helped small dairy farmers to evaluate the performance of a new technology to treat wastewater.
- USDA undertook the Rapid Carbon Assessment, released this year to support conservation planners; and released the COMET-FARM™ tool, which enables farmers and ranchers to calculate how much carbon their soil is storing.
- And to help American agriculture mitigate and adapt to climate change, USDA will soon announce seven regional " Climate Hubs" around the nation. The hubs will deliver region-specific information to help farmers and ranchers adapt to climate threats specific to their area.
- We have boosted efforts to strengthen ecosystem markets. USDA has supported the creation of water quality trading markets that hold potential to boost income for producers while providing environmental benefits at a lower cost than more traditional approaches. And through the Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative, we are helping farmers and ranchers proactively protect species with declining populations.
Many of these conservation efforts, and USDA's ability to continue working with farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect our environment, depend on Congressional passage of a new Farm Bill. Americans are counting on Congress to get its job done and pass a Farm Bill as soon as possible.
The following charts provide a state-by-state look at the impact of some leading USDA conservation programs within the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service.