USDA to provide $370M for green projects

States across the country are set to receive more than $370 million in federal funding to support 115 conservation projects, Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas J. VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE announced Wednesday.

In addition to the federal funding, the projects are expected to receive about $400 million in partner contributions. 

The selected projects focus on improving water quality, enhancing the environment and supporting wildlife habitats.

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"This is an entirely new approach to conservation efforts," Vilsack said in Phoenix. “These efforts keep our land resilient and water clean, and promote economic growth in agriculture, construction, tourism, outdoor recreation, and other industries."

The awards are given to private companies, nonprofit organizations, local and tribal governments and universities.

The funding stems from the farm bill Congress passed last year. Some of the funding will specifically go to farmers to help them fight droughts and protecting drinking water supplies, the Agriculture Department said.

It will also provide habitats for at-risk species like the sage grouse. The spending bill Congress passed in December included a rider that bars the federal government from listing sage grouse as an endangered species for one year in an effort to protect oil-drilling projects.