USDA Commissions Chesapeake Survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that it was commissioning a survey of conservation practices in the Chesapeake Bay region. The National Agricultural Statistical Service, an agency of the USDA, will conduct the survey as a part of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project.

The survey is part of an ongoing fight regarding the Chesapeake Bay. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency tightened its regulations on sediment discharge into Chesapeake waterways. The increased regulations triggered a legal battle by farm advocacy groups who sued, claiming the EPA overstepped its authority.

The CEAP survey, some hope, could reveal potential avenues of improvement for farmers along the Chesapeake watershed. A survey conducted earlier this year revealed that conservation programs along Great Lakes waterways have helped reduced sediment discharge by 50 percent and have reduced nitrogen and phosphorus discharge by 37 and 36 percent, respectively.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack praised the CEAP, stating, “CEAP is one on of the strongest and most advanced conservation tools used in American agriculture because it helps farmers and ranchers understand how to improve farming and management activities that help protect soil and water resources. The information gathered on conservation practices in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will help contribute to the region’s sustainability, supporting those who rely on the land and water for livelihoods and recreation.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer