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USDA giving up to $50M for Red River conservation

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- The federal Agriculture Department is providing up to $50 million over the next five years for conservation funding in the Red River Basin in the Upper Midwest.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the money will be distributed through several conservation programs and used to minimize flooding, boost soil health, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat in the watershed.

Vilsack and Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson announced the funding Wednesday in Moorhead, Minnesota. Several members of the Minnesota and North Dakota congressional delegations joined them.

Ducks Unlimited regional conservation services director Roger Smith says the group is happy with conservation efforts anywhere, though the Red River Basin isn't the group's highest priority.