THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
Washington, DC -- Vice President Al Gore announced today that the Administration will seek nearly $1.3 billion in the FY 2001 budget for conservation programs that help family farmers take steps to protect water quality and the environment and to preserve farmland pressured by sprawl. This conservation package is part of a larger Administration budget proposal to strengthen the farm safety net.
'Farmers are among the most important stewards of our land and water. Despite the accomplishments made in recent years in stopping soil erosion and protecting water quality, agricultures environmental challenges are multiplying. The initiatives that I am announcing today will provide needed financial support to our family farmers as well as tremendous environmental benefits for the American people. '
The centerpiece of the proposal is a new $600 million program providing additional income to family farmers who voluntarily adopt comprehensive plans to curb erosion and protect water supplies from pesticide and nutrient runoff.
An additional $125 million will be used to provide additional opportunities for farmers to benefit through USDAs Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for farmers to establish buffer strips along waterways to improve water quality. The proposal also asks Congress to expand CRP so that an additional 4 million acres of farmland (for a total of 40 million acres) may be enrolled in the program.
An additional $550 million will be used to strengthen several other USDA programs to assist farmers with conservation and environmental efforts. These programs include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. This funding also will be used to expand technical assistance for farmers and ranchers for conservation efforts and expand the Farmland Protection Program.
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