Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the launch of a Conservation Loan (CL) program that will provide farm owners and farm-related business operators access to credit to implement conservation techniques that will conserve natural resources.

“This will give farmers who want to implement conservation measures on their lands a chance to do so by providing assistance with their up-front costs,” said Vilsack. “In return, these producers will help to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and promote sustainable and organic agricultural practices.”

CL funds can be used to implement conservation practices approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), such as the installation of conservation structures; establishment of forest cover; installation of water conservation measures; establishment or improvement of permanent pastures; implementation of manure management; and the adaptation of other emerging or existing conservation practices, techniques or technologies.

Direct CLs can be obtained through local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices with loan limits up to $300,000. Guaranteed CLs up to $1,112,000 are available from lenders working with FSA.

For more information on the Conservation Loan program, contact a local FSA office or visit the FSA Web site at http://www.fsa.usda.gov. For more information about this announcement please see the notice which appeared in the Sept. 3 edition of the Federal Register: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/federalNotices?area=home&subject=lare&topic=frd-ii.