Findings in the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) 2010 National Resources Inventory (NRI) Report shows a boom in growing certain specialty crops, in agricultural land, stable erosion rates and notable land use changes.
The report is designed to show a summary on the status, condition and trends of land, soil, water and related resources on the nation’s private lands from 1982 through 2010. Data from 800,000 sample locations from across the country is included in the report.
“The NRI summary report is the only report of its kind and is one of our most comprehensive tools to understanding what’s actually happening on the country’s landscape,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. “As a science-based organization, this information is an invaluable resource to help us understand where conservation is working and where we need to focus more effort.”
The NRCS has begun to increase the frequency of these reports because of the dynamic changes in the agricultural and related land use.
Highlights from report include:
- Land dedicated for fruits, nuts and flowers increased from 124,800 in 2007 to 273,800 in 2010;
- Cropland acreage increased by about 2 million acres from 2007 to 2010 after a steady decline over the previous 25 years;
- Acres in pastureland increased by 847,000 acres;
- Developed land increased two percent from 111.1 to 113.3 million acres;
- Palustrine wetlands, such as swamps or marshes, and estuarine wetlands, such as a river flowing into the ocean, saw a small increase from 1997 to 2010;
- Cropland erosion rates remained stable despite a growth in agricultural land use and more extreme weather events, such as drought and floods.
“We’re excited that more farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have chosen to voluntarily install conservation practices on their operations,” Weller said. “Because of their hard work and dedication, cropland erosion rates have remained stable even though more land is in production.”
Download the complete report here. For more information, contact the NRI Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.