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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announces $50 million in - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announces $50 million in flood funds

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Today at noon North Dakota and Minnesota U.S. House and Senate members gathered with a special guest: the United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

They came to Moorhead to detail how millions of dollars of farm bill money will be used fight flooding.

"Today we announce the development and the establishment of a $50 million resource from NRCS, National Conservation Resource Service that will be made available specifically for the Red River Valley," says Vilsack.

The funds will be used for water retention projects-- projects like dry-dams, levies and some farmers temporarily holding water on the land.  These projects are aimed at areas upstream.

"This just isn't a sustainable situation and given the great potential in what we see already in farming in this area, we want to keep this area strong," says U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Projects are being planned for both sides of the river and they will not only minimize flooding but also improve soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat.

"If we could spend this money ahead of time, we could save everybody a lot of grief and we could actually save taxpayers money," says U.S. House Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN).

Senator Hoeven says these funds will work with the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion plans.

"We all need to work together to bring those projects forward, get them approved, get them funded, get them constructed so you have comprehensive flood protection for the region," says Hoeven (R-ND).

Congressional delegation members say a lot of the ground work is done.  They also say the funding is in place to get them started. Congressman Peterson says there will be meetings in both states in the coming weeks to talk about the first projects.   

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U.S. AG Secretary Tom Vilsack has a news conference scheduled in Moorhead Wednesday. 

He will be announcing funding for the Red River Basin. He and Congressman Collin Peterson are going to be discussing the flood water retention, which is part of the Farm Bill passed and signed by the President earlier this year. 

Secretary Vilsack and Peterson will detail the funding and how the program works. 
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