Ag Policy Blog

USDA Gathers Conservation Data

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is launching a conservation survey of farmers and ranchers to get an idea of what kinds of practices farmers are implementing, according to a news release from USDA.

During the first phase of the National Resources Inventory -– Conservation Effects Assessment Project, USDA expects to contact some 24,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide to determine if their operations and properties meet criteria to participate in the survey.

According to USDA those farmers and ranchers that qualify may be contacted from October 2015 through February 2016 to participate in the survey as part of USDA's two-year project. Then later in 2016 USDA will survey a different set of producers.

"The survey gives farmers and ranchers the power to provide a more complete and accurate picture of the conservation practices they choose to use on their lands and in their operations," NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly said in a news release. "If contacted, I urge farmers and ranchers to participate; their responses can help leaders focus on the conservation practices that most benefit both the farmer and the natural resources on which we all rely."

USDA is attempting to measure environmental benefits associated with implementation and installation of conservation practices on cultivated and non-cultivated agricultural lands.

"Data obtained from the project may help NRCS conservationists and partners determine the efficiency and effectiveness of current conservation techniques and help identify best practices," the news release said.

The project also may help producers in a number of other ways, including:

-To evaluate resources farmers and ranchers may need to protect soil, water and habitat;

-Shedding light on techniques farmers and ranchers use to conserve healthy agricultural systems and environments;

-Improving and strengthening technical and financial programs that help farmers and ranchers plan and install conservation measures;

-Supporting conservation programs that can help farmers and ranchers' profits while also protecting natural resources.

USDA said in the release that NASS "safeguards the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified, as required by Federal law. Participants’ responses cannot be used for the purposes of taxation, investigation or regulation (Title 7, U.S. Code, and CIPSEA, Public Law 107-347)."

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Coy Allen
7/24/2015 | 10:50 AM CDT
I hope USDA surveys golf courses/Country Clubs/Cities as well.
Curt Zingula
7/24/2015 | 7:40 AM CDT
"their responses can help leaders focus on the conservation practices that most benefit both the farmer and the natural resources on which we all rely." ....... Tell this to the regulation loving environmentalists belly-aching that Iowa's voluntary nutrient reduction strategy wasn't fully implemented the day after it was announced! Regulations they say are the answer but apparently those who would regulate aren't even sure which way to turn.