The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, is a household name in the U.S., though this large department of the government is best known for their work in the agriculture setting, but the reality is that the USDA does so much more. In addition to agrarian efforts, overseeing nutrition in public settings and administering the nation’s WIC and SNAP food programs, the USDA also spearheads environmental programs aimed at areas like clean energy and biofuels, water conservation and habitat preservation. See a few  corners of the country the USDA is working in to realize a greener tomorrow.

In February, the USDA authorized $25 million to assist agriculture producers in cleaning high-priority rivers and streams in the U.S. under the National Water Quality Initiative. The initiative added 17 new waterways to replace 13 that have “graduated” from the program. Read more here.

In March, the USDA announced $260 million in funding for a variety of conservation projects—from improving soil health to supporting habitats for wildlife to fighting drought and more—through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) innovative Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Part of the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP programs have already given over half a million to various projects. Applicants are required to match federal money from the RCPP program with local or private funds to qualify. Read more here.

Most recently, the USDA announced funding for 60 clean water and wastewater projects totaling $183 million in anticipation of Earth Day. The loans and grants are offered through the USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program (WEP), which provides assistance and financing to create systems for drinking water and waste disposal in communities with less than 10,000 residents. Read more here.

It’s just a sampling of all the hard work the USDA does—and helps others to do—to help the environment. It’s further proof that agriculture and conservation are a winning team.


Photo courtesy of USDA