USDA to spend $59M on Mississippi River initiative

MISSISSIPPI RIVER — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s spending another $59 million this year on an initiative that works with farmers and other landowners to reduce pollution in the Mississippi River basin.

The agency says the new funding raises its total investment in the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds initiative to about $289 million since 2010.

The initiative works with farmers and landowners to encourage voluntary conservation practices that improve water quality, restore wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat and sustain agricultural profitability.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says in a statement to The Associated Press that the program is an example of how voluntary conservation practices in small watersheds can help improve a larger river system by reducing sediment and nitrogen runoff.

The USDA plans to issue an official announcement Friday.

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