Senator Stabenow, Governor Whitmer, and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Announce $5,393,506 for Climate Action and Reforestation in Northern Michigan

Thursday, September 30, 2021

WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development today announced a new partnership with local organizations to address the climate crisis through planting trees on 16,400 acres in 27 counties in Northern Michigan. This significant investment is one of 17 projects in Michigan made possible by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, authored by Stabenow in the Farm Bill.


“I’m proud of the way local leaders in Michigan are stepping up to tackle the climate crisis in partnership with foresters and landowners on the ground. Planting trees is more than just putting a tree in the ground. It’s about preserving our Michigan way of life for generations to come,” said Senator Stabenow. “This new partnership builds on the historic investments in land and water conservation that we have already made across the state through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.”


“Reforestation of state and private land is key to capturing carbon and addressing water quality concerns. This project will focus on providing financial assistance to help landowners plant trees and offer the technical assistance to help them adopt climate-friendly forestry practices,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am so grateful to Senator Stabenow for championing the RCPP program and to the USDA for their ongoing commitment to Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources.”


“Michigan’s forest products industry contributes more than $20 billion to the state’s economy each year. Planting trees secures the long-term supply of Michigan’s forest products with species that are valuable from both a conservation and economic perspective,” said Gary McDowell, Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Our climate efforts should incorporate sustainable forestry as part of the solution.”


The project, led by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, will bring together local partners, including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Huron Pines, the Arbor Day Foundation, and Michigan State University’s Forest Carbon and Climate Program, and USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service.


Stabenow created the Regional Conservation Partnership Program in the bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill to form locally led partnerships between farmers, agriculture stakeholders and conservation groups to preserve land and water, improve hunting and fishing, and protect the Great Lakes. These local projects leverage private and public dollars to address regional conservation issues. In Michigan alone, 17 projects have received over $161 million total in federal funding and partner contributions.


In the 2018 Farm Bill, Senator Stabenow strengthened regional conservation partnerships to provide more resources for partners to expand the reach of conservation projects, while cutting red-tape and increasing flexibility for new participants.