Created in 2003; to help the Department better understand and optimize environmental benefits of conservation practices and programs
The purpose of the National Assessment for Cropland is to estimate the environmental benefits and effects of conservation practices applied to cultivated cropland and cropland enrolled in long-term conserving cover (e.g. the Conservation Reserve Program). The Cropland Component of the National Assessment has three specific goals: 1.Estimate the effects of conservation practices currently present on the landscape. 2.Estimate the need for conservation practices and the potential benefits of additional conservation treatment. 3.Simulate alternative options for implementing conservation programs on cropland in the future. The ultimate goal of the Cropland Component is to report conservation effects in terms that represent recognizable outcomes, such as cleaner water and soil quality enhancements that will result in more sustainable and profitable production over time.
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation partnership created $40.5 million out of an initial $10.3 million taxpayer investment in 2011 for on-the-ground conservation efforts throughout the United States. Using a competitive grant-matching program that leverages private funds, the Conservation Partners Program will accelerate service to more than 4,200 farmers and ranchers to restore or protect 1.2 million acres in areas that have vulnerable species and habitat or other conservation concerns.
A voluntary land retirement program that helps agricultural producers protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat, and safeguard ground and surface water. The program is a partnership among producers; tribal, state, and federal governments; and, in some cases, private groups. CREP is an offshoot of the country's largest private-lands environmental improvement program - the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Like CRP, CREP is administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA). By combining CRP resources with state, tribal, and private programs, CREP provides farmers and ranchers with a sound financial package for conserving and enhancing the natural resources of farms. CREP addresses high-priority conservation issues of both local and national significance, such as impacts to water supplies, loss of critical habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife species, soil erosion, and reduced habitat for fish populations such as salmon. CREP is a community-based, results-oriented effort centered around local participation and leadership.
A voluntary program for agricultural landowners. Through CRP, you can receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland.
*The Conservation Security Program (CSP) was not reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill and is no longer available. CSP was a voluntary program that provided financial and technical assistance to promote the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes on Tribal and private working lands. Working lands included cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pasture, and range land, as well as forested land that was an incidental part of an agriculture operation. The program was available in all 50 States, the Caribbean Area and the Pacific Basin area. The program provided equitable access to benefits to all producers, regardless of size of operation, crops produced, or geographic location. The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill) (Pub. L. 107-171) amended the Food Security Act of 1985 to authorize the program. CSP is administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Tensas River Watershed in Louisiana was included in 2006.
The Potential for Agriculture/Aquaculture Model was based on the concept of habitat suitability index (HSI) models. The model was designed to examine the potential for agriculture using the requirements for the two leading crops in south Louisiana, sugarcane and rice. This model is also being used as a predictor for aquaculture potential. The Potential for Agriculture/Aquaculture Suitability Index (SI) is intended to consider the possible effect of a project on potential for agriculture/aquaculture. It is based on 500 x 500m model grid cells and is calculated on an annual time step. The model combines salinity and flooding risk to produce a suitability index for potential for agriculture/aquaculture ranging from 0.0 to 1.0.