The mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is to provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. Through its several agencies, offices, programs and services, the USDA provides a wide variety of financial resources. These financial resources, including tax incentives, grant, loans, capacity building, among others, are provided in order to assist the economic development of rural communities, conservation of natural resources, improving housing options, and strengthening local and regional food systems.
The Forest Legacy Program
Provides grants to state partners to protect important forests threatened by conversion. The program focuses on working forests that provide forest products and resource-based jobs, protect air and water quality, provide recreational opportunities, and protect fish and wildlife habitat, including habitat of threatened or endangered species.
The Community Forest Program
Provides grants to local governments, tribes, and qualified nonprofit organizations to establish community forests. Communities and tribes can sustainability manage these community forests to achieve many public benefits, including recreation, income, wildlife habitat, stewardship demonstration sites, and environmental education.
The Forest Stewardship Program (FSP)
Provides technical assistance, through State forestry agency partners, to nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) owners to encourage and enable active long-term forest management.
The Open Space Program
In 2007 the Forest Service has developed an Open Space Conservation Strategy to identify how the agency can best help conserve open space, with an emphasis on partnerships and collaborative approaches.