Renewable energy and water quality all have made headlines this year - and each could get a boost from a loan program promoted by a recent visit to Ohio by a USDA official.

The loan program, launched this month by the USDA, provides farmers and farm-related business operators access to credit to help prevent erosion and conserve their land, says Jonathan Coppess, administrator of the Farm Service Agency.

The loans are for as much as $300,000 and give farmers who want to implement conservation measures a chance to do so by helping with their upfront costs, Coppess said.

"In return, these producers will help to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and promote sustainable and organic agricultural practices," he says.

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