Skip to Content
News Highlight
Aug 14, 2013

Benefit from Helping the Environment!

This is an image of a forest.
The summer months are here and what better reason to spend some time outside, enjoying the beauty of our country. In addition to appreciating Federal and State forests and parks, many citizens' privately owned or controlled land greatly contributes to the biodiversity and beauty of our landscape. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), about 60 percent of the land in the U.S. is privately owned, making the efforts of farmers, ranchers and landowners critical when it comes to creating, restoring and protecting plant and animal habitats. USDA offers benefit programs to those individuals who work to preserve the natural beauty and animal habitats around the nation, and Benefits.gov can help you understand which programs you may be eligible for.

Do you own or control land that can be restored or enhanced? The USDA offers the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to encourage producers to improve, maintain, and manage existing conservation activities. There are many improvements that can be made in different categories, including: air quality, animal, energy, plant, soil erosion, soil quality, water quality, water quantity and some special projects. CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land in all 50 States and the Caribbean and Pacific Islands Areas. Under CSP, participants are paid for conservation performance: the higher the operational performance, the higher their payment. For additional information, visit the USDA's program website.

The USDA also offers the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), which is a voluntary program for landowners and operators to protect, restore, and enhance grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, shrubland, and certain other lands. Participants in this program voluntarily limit future development and cropping uses while holding the right to conduct common grazing practices and operations related to the production of forage and seeding, subject to some restrictions. For more information, you can visit USDA's program website.

If you are a landowner of private or Tribal land, you may also be interested in the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP). The purpose of this program is to assist landowners, on a voluntary basis, in promoting the recovery of endangered and threatened species, improving plant and animal biodiversity, and to enhance carbon sequestration on private lands. Landowner Protections are available to landowners who agree, for a specified period, to restore or improve their land for threatened or endangered species habitats. In exchange, they avoid certain regulatory restrictions under the Endangered Species Act on the use of that land. For more information, you can visit USDA's program website.

If you own or control undeveloped land, the USDA and Benefits.gov want to help provide support to both you and the environment. To view the full list of environmental conservation benefits on Benefits.gov, visit the "Browse by Category" page and select "Environmental Sustainability/Conservation". To find out if you might be eligible for these, or any of the more than 1,000 other benefits on our site, click "Start Now" on the homepage to use our confidential Benefit Finder.