Posted April 4, 2014
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) recently suggested that USDA consider designating the Lower Mississippi River Valley as one of the Critical Conservation Areas established by the 2014 farm bill, according to a press release from Sen. Cochran’s office available here.  MS Business also reported on the story here.
Cochran, the ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he would support a Critical Conservation Area designation that includes Mississippi and neighboring states.  His comments were made during a Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture review of the FY2015 budget for USDA.
“Regional partnerships have proven useful in Mississippi and on the Gulf Coast.  The Lower Mississippi River Valley should receive serious consideration for a designation as a Critical Conservation Area,” said Cochran.
The farm bill, signed into law on Feb. 7, consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13 programs, saving over $6 billion over 10 years.  The law creates a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which encourages collaborative conservation programs with federal, state, and private partners.
“The creation of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program offers an opportunity for regions like the Lower Mississippi River Valley to build upon existing partnerships and to provide agricultural producers and landowners the necessary tools to address critical natural resource issues related to soil health, water quality and quantity, and wildlife habitat on a watershed scale while also supporting a diverse regional economy,” said Cochran.
The Lower Mississippi River Valley includes Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois.


For more information on the farm bill and conservation programs, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here and here.