American Farmland Trust likes with it sees in USDA's new report on the effects of on-farm conservation practices on the environmental health of the Upper Mississippi River Basin. "This new report...shows that we are seeing the benefits of investing in conservation, but there is much work to be done," says Jon Scholl, president of the organization.
Scholl notes that as the largest users of land in the United States, American Farmers have a significant role in "maintaining and improving the environmental health of our natural resources." He notes that it is clear farmers are embracing their role as stewards of the land, water and air, and that investment that started with the 1985 Farm Bill are "paying off."
He also points to another pattern emerging from the report, including the lack of funding for farmers interested in cost-share funds for conservation programs. "We need to ask, 'How much further along would we be if all the farmers who wanted to participate in conservation programs could?', 'What if the marketplace paid farmers to produce food, fiber and bioenergy, and the environmental benefits they produce?', and 'How can we best design conservation programs for maximum benefits and efficiency?'"
You can check out the USDA report, "Assessment of Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Upper Mississippi River Basin" by visiting USDA.gov.