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Money for farmland protection finally available, but applicants better hurry

(Monday, Sept. 9, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- The USDA has finally announced the availability of $48 million for the Farmland Protection Program and $275 million for the Wetlands Reserve Program. (http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/2002/09/0371.htm). Release of this money, which had been held up by the Office of Management and Budget, means that work can begin on enrolling contracts to protect working farmland threatened by urban sprawl, and to protect and restore up to 250,000 acres of wetlands. However, the delay in getting these funds out the door means that the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which administers the programs, has only three weeks to sign contracts before the fiscal year ends on September 30. The USDA has indicated that due to the short time period, they will be focusing on already-submitted contracts. If you have already filed an application, you can contact your local NRCS office for more information.

Application guidelines are available at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill/2002/products.html

The news release is available at: http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/2002/09/0371.htm