TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the first round of grants under a new program designed to encourage public-private partnerships for soil and water conservation.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tells The Associated Press the agency chose 115 projects to receive a combined $340 million in federal funds. The grants will be matched by more than $400 million raised by participants.
Vilsack is scheduled to announce more details Wednesday.
The Regional Conservation Partnership Program was created in the national farm bill that Congress enacted last year. Among the projects are ones designed to cut down on fertilizer runoff, expand bird nesting areas and restore native grasslands.