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Program provides $35 million to help conservation

Prairie pothole
Prairie pothole

FARGO, N.D. (AP)  -- The federal government is setting aside $35 million over three years to help landowners conserve wetlands and grasslands in the five-state Prairie Pothole Region.

The money is part of an incentive program built into the farm bill that President Obama signed into law earlier this month. It includes conservation grants, carbon credits and technical assistance.

Wildlife officials say the region of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana provides important breeding and nesting habitat for more than 60 percent of the nation's migratory waterfowl.

Hundreds of thousands of native prairie acres in the region are lost to cropland conversion each year.

Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie says the program provides farmers, ranchers and conservation groups with options.

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