Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District highlighted funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today through the StrikeForce initiative that provides assistance to farmers, ranchers, and private forest owners in rural areas. The USDA is providing $15 million in 20 states, including $450,000 for New Mexico, which targets rural communities that experience “persistent poverty.”
“Sadly, too many people in New Mexico are living in poverty and struggling to get by. With the economy continuing to feel the effects of the deep recession, rural communities have been hard hit,” Congressman Luján said. “This program can help rural farmers and ranchers by providing critical funding for conservation efforts that enable them to improve their land that is so important to their economic wellbeing.”
Through the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the USDA will provide technical and financial assistance in the StrikeForce areas, building on efforts that have invested a total of $653 million for conservation efforts since 2010. Funds, which are provided through the USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program, can be used for conservation activities, including water conservation improvements and soil protections. Applications for funding are accepted at local USDA Service Centers.