For farmers and producers, conserving and protecting the land that maintains their livelihood and the world’s food supply is a major priority.
To help farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin and the Des Moines River Basin, the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) is conducting the National Resources Inventory (NRI) – Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) survey, which will collect information from farming and conservation practices on cultivated cropland.
The CEAP survey is important because it will provide the farming community, the general public, legislators, and others involved in environmental policy, with a current account of the environmental impacts of conservation practices in Western Lake Erie Basin and the Des Moines River Basin.
Locally, the survey will provide information needed by the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to determine the most beneficial conservation practices farmers can adopt to reduce the levels of nutrients entering into the areas being analyzed. This survey will capture the efforts farmers are currently making to enhance water quality and identify potential benefits of additional conversation treatments. Improving the overall health of these regions is beneficial to the local agricultural industry and economy as it will help increase tourism and cropland quality in the area.
Data collection began in August and will continue through January 2013. NASS representatives will visit 1,478 farms in the West Lake Erie Basin, with a focus on the Maumee watershed, in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, and 956 farms in the Des Moines River Basin, with a focus on the Boone and Raccoon watersheds.
“By participating in this survey, producers can help the USDA collect vital information on conservation efforts,” said Cheryl Turner, deputy director for the USDA-NASS Ohio Field Office. “If an enumerator visits your farm, open your door, welcome them in, and help them get the information they need. The information from this survey is very important for Ohio’s agricultural industry.”
NASS conducted a CEAP survey in the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi regions from 2003-2006, but the 2012 survey is focusing on a smaller study area using a larger sample. This will allow for a more in-depth and clearer idea of current conservation practices in these specific areas.
This vital information will help policy makers determine what farmers need in the future to further protect the soil, water and related resources in the targeted watersheds. It will be used to maintain, modify, combine and improve programs that assist farmers in planning and installing on-farm conservation practices. The alterations made to these conservation programs have the potential to further reduce sediment and nutrient losses from cropland.
For more information, please contact Krissy Young, senior public affairs specialist for USDA-NASS, by telephone at 202-690-8123 or via e-mail at Krissy.Young@nass.usda.gov.