WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2015 - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today made the following statement:
"This year, we are experiencing yet another devastating wildfire season, particularly in the drought-ravaged West. Climate change, drought, fuel buildup, insects and disease are increasing the severity of unprecedented wildfire in America's forests and rangelands, which impacts the safety of people, homes and communities. Development close to forests has also increased the threat to property, with more than 46 million homes in the United States, or about 40 percent of our nation's housing, potentially at risk from wildfire.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Interior, Agriculture & Defense Team Up To Conserve Landscapes and Wildlife, Bolster Rural Economies, and Ensure Military Readiness
WASHINGTON – The Departments of Interior, Agriculture and Defense joined with state and federal partners today to announce the designation of three new Sentinel Landscapes to benefit working lands, wildlife conservation and military readiness. Through the Sentinel Landscapes partnership, the DOI, USDA and DoD have committed to working together in overlapping priority areas near military installations to help farmers and ranchers make improvements to the land that benefit their operation, enhance wildlife habitat, and enable DoD's training missions to continue. This year’s Sentinel Landscapes were chosen for Avon Park Air Force Range in Florida, Camp Ripley in Minnesota and military bases in Eastern North Carolina.
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. BCAP provides financial assistance to establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility.
WASHINGTON, April 4, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), acting in response to a directive from President Donald J. Trump, today authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands located in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas – the three states which were most heavily impacted by ongoing wildfires which began on March 6, 2017. USDA Acting Deputy Secretary Michael L. Young issued a memorandum authorizing the emergency grazing of cattle by ranchers, who are facing the ruination of their herds due to lack of sufficient grazing land. The authorization is pursuant to appropriate restrictions and conservation measures, which can be found in the Acting Deputy Secretary’s memorandum.
USDA’s Largest Conservation Program Helps Producers Improve Health, Productivity of Working Lands
WASHINGTON, March 30, 2017 – Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Young today announced that a contract renewal sign-up is underway for the Conservation Stewardship Program(CSP), USDA’s largest working lands conservation program with more than 80 million acres enrolled. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS) made several updates to the popular program last fall. These changes help producers better evaluate conservation options that benefit their operations while improving the health and productivity of private and Tribal working lands.
(Washington, D.C., June 12, 2019) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) released proposed changes to modernize how the agency complies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposed updates would not only give the Forest Service the tools and flexibility to manage the land and tackle critical challenges like wildfire, insects, and disease but also improve service to the American people. Revising the rules will improve forest conditions and make it simpler for people to use and enjoy their national forests and grasslands at lower cost to the taxpayer. The revised rules will also make it easier to maintain and repair the infrastructure people need to use and enjoy their public lands—the roads, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities.
Department to Invest Additional $211 Million to Help Ranchers Adopt Proven Conservation Methods
PORTLAND, Ore., August 27, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a four-year strategy that will invest approximately $211 million through 2018 in conservation efforts to benefit the greater sage grouse. The strategy, known as Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0, will build on successful public and private conservation efforts made since 2010 to improve sage grouse habitat. The new plan will provide additional assistance for ranchers to make conservation improvements to their land, which mutually benefits the iconic bird and agricultural operations in 11 Western states.
WASHINGTON, June 22, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced additional steps it is taking to integrate climate change adaptation into USDA's programs and operations. These efforts will help ensure taxpayer resources are invested wisely and that USDA services and operations remain effective under current and future climate conditions.
The effects of climate change are complex and far-reaching and it is clear that potential changes could have important impacts on the ability of USDA to fulfill its core mission. Under the updated USDA Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaptation (Departmental Regulation 1070-001), USDA recognizes that climate stressors have consequences for food production, yields of staple crops, forests and grasslands, and these, in turn, affect the economic well-being of individuals.
The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to “establish a framework to allow the Forest Service and WGA to work collaboratively to accomplish mutual goals, further common interests, and effectively respond to the increasing suite of challenges facing western landscapes.”