USDA Begins Second Phase of Data Gathering

Kelly MarshallConservation, Government, USDA

usda-logoThe USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be contacting farmers and ranchers now through February 2016 to collect information of the second phase of the National Resources Inventory-Conservation Effects Assessment Project (NRI-CEAP-2).

CEAP is a multi-agency study of the environmental impacts of conservation practices and programs on cultivated and non-cultivated agricultural lands. The survey will gather field management data and conservation implementation information from scientifically-selected National Resources Inventory (NRI) points on farms and ranches, nationwide. That information will be used to measure the environmental impacts associated with farm management and conservation practice implementation. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the lead agency for the collaborative project; NASS conducts the CEAP survey under a cooperative agreement with NRCS.

“CEAP is a critical tool for quantifying the impacts of the good conservation work done by millions of farmers and ranchers partnering with USDA,” said NRCS Chief Jason Weller. “Results from CEAP assessments help to shape USDA policies and practices that improve voluntary conservation delivery and the resulting benefits on the landscape.”

Surveyors  will interview around 23,500 farmers and ranchers in the US.  Data gathered will pertain to management and conservation practices.  The information will be used to evaluate changes since the first survey phase in 2003-2006.   The process is expected to take two years for completion.  Further surveys will be conducted in the fall of 2016 and winter of 2017.

“The NRI-CEAP-2 survey gives producers a great opportunity to provide a more complete and accurate picture of the conservation and management practices they use on their lands and in their operations,” said NASS Administrator, Joseph T. Reilly. “While participation is voluntary, documenting the significant efforts made by farmers to conserve natural resources while producing food, fuel, feed, and fiber is very important. These findings encourage continued support for conservation programs that protect natural resources while respecting farmers’ livelihoods.”

The survey offers farmers and ranchers a place to be heard about conservation practices and programs.  It will also document current trends in voluntary programs and help to determine the future of USDA policy and program development.  All responses are safeguarded by Federal law.