The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting farmers and ranchers from now through February as part of a national survey of conservation practices. Illinois Corn encourages those farmers that are contacted to participate in the survey as nutrient management and water quality issues are of ever-increasing importance. Documenting the work that is currently underway is a key part of moving forward.
During the first phase of the National Resources Inventory (NRI) – Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), NASS contacted approximately 800 farmers and ranchers in Illinois to determine if their operations and properties were eligible to participate in the survey. In the second phase, producers are asked to provide details on the conservation practices they are currently using. Phase 2 will continue through February 2016.
“Illinois producers are using a wide variety of conservation practices including reduced tillage techniques, cover crops, grassed waterways, filter strips and buffers,” said Illinois State Statistician Mark Schleusener. “It’s important that everyone knows the ways that crop and livestock producers are conserving the natural resources of Illinois.”
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).
CEAP’s purpose is to measure the environmental benefits associated with implementation and installation of conservation practices on cultivated and non-cultivated agricultural lands, according to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the lead agency for the project. NASS conducts the survey for CEAP under a cooperative agreement with NRCS.
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. CEAP results may also help to --
• Evaluate resources farmers and ranchers may need in the future to further protect soil, water, and habitat;
• Shed light on techniques farmers and ranchers use to conserve healthy agricultural systems and environments;
• Improve and strengthen technical and financial programs that help farmers and ranchers plan and install conservation measures on agricultural land; and
• Support conservation programs that can help farmers’ and ranchers’ profits while also protecting natural resources.