The state of Louisiana has approved a $1.2bn (£1.0bn) agricultural exemption programme to help farmers get around some of the toughest restrictions on agricultural land.
Agricultural exemptions will also help landowners and farmers to grow their crops.
Agents will be able to apply to buy and use up to 1,200 hectares (3,300 acres) of agricultural land in the state and waive the need to apply for permission from the state’s Department of Agriculture and Industries (DAI).
Agriculture and water are among the key areas that have been hit hardest by restrictions, with farmers reporting the most issues.
But the Department of Agricultural and Rural Development (DAR) said the exemption scheme had helped some farmers to buy farmland, which is usually expensive.
The exemption scheme has already been rolled out to more than 60,000 farmers in Louisiana and the District of Columbia.
“Agriculturally, there are some areas that are still not completely under the radar,” said Richard Riggs, the head of the Louisiana Agricultural Extension Service.
“We’ve got to do a better job of educating the people that this is really important.”
People should know this is a benefit to them.
It’s not just for themselves.
It helps them with the value of their farm and they’re able to get out and build the future.
“The scheme was approved by the Louisiana House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday and is now awaiting the signature of Governor Bobby Jindal, who has previously said he will sign the legislation.”
There is no doubt this will help to create jobs, increase agriculture incomes, and make Louisiana an even better place to live,” Mr Jindal said.”
It’s about the state of our state being able to grow our agriculture and be able make the most of our land for future generations.
“In a separate development, Louisiana’s state government has approved $1bn in state aid to help pay for a proposed expansion of a Louisiana-based water-treatment plant.
The Louisiana Plant & Garden Association (LPGA) has been trying to raise $1m for the project, which would involve converting the nearby city of New Orleans into a plant-treatment facility for the city’s wastewater.
The plant would use the city of Baton Rouge as a storage point for water.
The $1 billion in state funding will be used to pay for equipment, training and staff to develop a plan for construction of the facility, which has been approved by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) panel.”
Our members are going to be working to develop an innovative technology that is both environmentally safe and economically viable,” said LPGA president Bill Tapp, a Democrat.
The project has been in the works for over a decade, with the Louisiana plant-water facility previously being proposed for New Orleans.
But it was delayed by a lack of funding in the last two budgets.