Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman has announced that more than $12 million in grants have been awarded to 22 institutions to conduct research, education and extension programs aimed at improving the quality of the nation's water resources.
The funding will focus on the impacts of bacteria and pharmaceuticals on water quality and developing improved tools for decision-making through economic and policy analyses.
"These grants will not only help us to better understand rural water quality issues, but they will also assist USDA in developing implementation guidelines for rural areas," said Mark Rey, agriculture undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment.
About $750,000 of the funds will be used to train Technical Service Providers (TSP) who assist farmers and ranchers on nutrient and pesticide management issues related to water quality. TSPs will help meet the growing demands on USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide technical service to support their conservation programs.
The grants are administered by USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES).