The U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping farmers and ranchers protect farmlands and wetlands through a new conservation program.
Farmers and ranchers are keeping land in agriculture and in some cases creating new wetlands through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.
Landowners agree to keep their land from being developed for non-agriculture uses.
“It’s not just that we are creating wetland, but we are creating opportunity for families to keep precious farmland in Florida,” said Easement Specialist Crenel Francis, with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
“I’m not going to be here forever and I want it so that my children understand that this is a special place, and must be kept as a special place,” said rancher Christopher Asplundh, of Labelle, Florida.
By providing financial and technical assistance, USDA’s NRCS helps landowners turn marginal agricultural land into wetlands for wildlife and conservation.
“If you’re not a conservationist and a rancher, you’re not a good rancher and they just help me do things that quite frankly that the cattle business doesn’t pay for,” said rancher Dwayne House, of Labelle, Florida.
“We find that the land serves a great purpose when you restore it back to the way it was originally. When you restore the hydrology. When you restore the vegetation. That creates an opportunity for wildlife,” said Russell Morgan, with the USDA NRCS.
Landowners who want to participate should contact their local USDA service center.
This report is from our partners at the USDA.