USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced support for farmers and ranchers in 10 states to conserve water and improve water quality on agricultural working lands through the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP), which leverages additional resources and services from conservation partners.

"Agricultural producers are the first stewards of our land and water, and USDA is working hard to support efforts to protect and preserve our water resources," said Vilsack. "The funding announced today will help producers in 10 states begin or expand plans and projects to improve water quality."

USDA will provide more than $19.7 million in fiscal year 2010 for 28 projects through this voluntary program. AWEP provides technical and financial assistance to help farmers and ranchers implement activities to improve agricultural water. The program is administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which enters into agreements with conservation partners to help landowners plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through the agreements. In the project areas announced recently, individual farmers and ranchers may apply for benefits.

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