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E-M:/ agricultural land

Enviro-Mich message from "Harris, Craig" <Craig.Harris@ssc.msu.edu>


July 13, 2000
Tonya Ratliff
The federal Administration has approved an agreement for a new partnership
with the State of Michigan to protect 80,000 acres of fragile farmland and
improve water quality in the connecting waterways between Lake Huron and
Lake Erie.
"This partnership with family farmers in Michigan will help protect the
environment and ensure safe drinking water for families," Vice President Al
Gore said today. "Farmers who voluntarily take steps to protect their
private land deserve our support. Their efforts will pay dividends for years
to come by ensuring a better, cleaner, environment."
The $177 million program falls under the U.S. Department of Agriculturešs
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which established similar
federal-state partnerships in eleven other states. The agreement is now
awaiting signature by the State of Michigan.
The program will provide farmers incentives to voluntarily remove from
production and improve environmentally sensitive lands along the Raisin
River and other waterways in the Macatawa and Saginaw watersheds. Under the
program, USDA and the State of Michigan will make annual rental payments and
provide other financial incentives to farmers who agree to create streamside
buffer zones or take other steps to control erosion and reduce polluted
runoff on their private lands.
"This is a real win-win for American agriculture, it helps farmers and the
environment," Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said.
The Macatawa and Saginaw watersheds, together with Lake Huron and Lake Erie,
supply drinking water to more than one-third of Michiganšs population. In
addition to reducing runoff of soil sediment, nutrients and pesticides, the
establishment of waterway buffers also will help lower water temperatures,
increase dissolved oxygen and provide additional habitat for fish and
USDA estimates that if the full 80,000 acres are enrolled in Michigan before
CREP expires on Dec. 31, 2002, the payments to Michigan farmers will be
about $177 million. The federal government has committed $142 million to the

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