Our state is home to 47,000 farms, and now those Florida farmers will have access to additional funding thanks to the extension of the Farm Bill. As reported by the Southeast AG Net, the extension allows the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to give Florida farmers and ranchers an additional opportunity to improve water and air quality, build healthier soil, improve forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, and achieve other environmental benefits.
The Southeast AG Net shares that interested producers should visit their local NRCS service center now to receive more information on the:
• Organic Initiative–helps producers install conservation practices on USDA certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.
• Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative–helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season, increase productivity, keep plants at a steady temperature, and conserve water and energy.
• On-farm Energy Initiative–helps producers conserve energy on their operations.
• Longleaf Pine Initiative–helps private landowners improve the sustainability and profitability of Longleaf pine forest ecosystems.
• Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative–provides technical and financial assistance for landowners who voluntarily choose to implement conservation practices that benefit the habitat of the target species–the gopher tortoise in Florida–while continuing to manage the habitat as working lands.
• Gulf of Mexico Initiative–helps producers located in the Escambia River and Middle Suwannee River Area watersheds to focus on reducing soil erosion, improving soil health, improving water quality, and wildlife habitat on cropland, pastureland and forestland.
Florida farmers seeking help in 2014 need to submit applications by the February 21 deadline.