August 28, 2015

Save the Sage Grouse

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a four-year strategy that will invest approximately $211 million through 2018 in conservation efforts to benefit the greater sage-grouse. The strategy, known as Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0, will build on successful public and private conservation efforts made since 2010 to improve sage grouse habitat. The new plan will provide additional assistance for ranchers to make conservation improvements to their land, which mutually benefits the iconic bird and agricultural operations in 11 Western states.

“The Sage Grouse Initiative has proven itself as a model for how wildlife and agriculture can coexist and thrive in harmony, and that is why we are announcing steps today that will expand this important initiative throughout the life of the 2014 Farm Bill,” said Vilsack. “I applaud America’s ranchers for their initiative in improving habitats and outcomes for sage grouse and other wildlife, and for their recognition that these efforts are also good for cattle, good for ranching operations, and good for America’s rural economy.”

Since its launch in 2010, public and private partners engaged in the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) have conserved 4.4 million acres, an area twice the size of Yellowstone National Park, using voluntary and incentive-based approaches for conservation. Between 2010 and 2014, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) invested $296.5 million into SGI, which partners matched with an additional $198 million. By the end of 2018 with implementation of the SGI 2.0 strategy, NRCS and partners will invest approximately $760 million and conserve 8 million acres, an area more than seven times the size of the Great Salt Lake.

NRCS leaders from California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming worked with conservation partners to develop the four-year strategy.


Telling the Story of Agriculture

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation says DuPont Pioneer has donated $2,000 toward the Sharing the Ag Story effort, which will be focused on developing agricultural education resources for deaf and hearing impaired students.

Pioneer makes contributions to community-based organizations on behalf of the business and employees. Consideration for outreach grants are given to communities where Pioneer representatives, employees and customers live and work and that support quality-of-life initiatives to create an improved, sustainable lifestyle for people worldwide.

We commend the vision and work of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation in their outreach efforts to offer unique learning experiences for nearly 70,000 deaf and hearing impaired students in Minnesota,” said Patrick Yockey, DuPont Pioneer director – Northern Business Unit.

“We want to thank DuPont Pioneer for this grant. We are excited about developing and offering educational resource materials and working with sign language interpreters to engage this sometimes overlooked segment of students,” said Ruth Meirick with the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation. “Our goal is to create an environment where students can learn about crops and animals in Minnesota, as well as learn about different types of farming practices and how healthy eating is important to all of us.”


Stronger Economic Ties – SET

USDA Rural Development and North Dakota State University Extension Service have announced that Tri-County was selected as a Stronger Economies Together region. Consisting of McIntosh, Logan and Emmons Counties, Tri-County will benefit from a focused initiative to explore regional economic advantages. A blueprint will be developed for their region that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of the area. Tri-County will be joining 21 other regions across thirteen states participating in SET during 2015.

“A regional approach can help address challenges and opportunities that may be too big to take on alone,” said Ryan Taylor, USDA Rural Development state director. “Bringing these counties together, they will assess their resources and formulate a plan to grow their economy and spur development.”

SET is intended to help strengthen the capacity of communities and counties in rural America.

Established now in more than 70 regions in 31 states, SET was first launched in 2010 by USDA Rural Development and the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers, the Purdue Center for Regional Development and their land-grant university partners.