WASHINGTON -- Total erosion on American cropland decreased by 42 percent from 1982 to 1995, dropping from 3.4 billion tons in 1982 to 2 billion tons in 1995, but has remained unchanged since then, according to a special study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
"We did this special study to monitor the impacts of the 1996 Farm Bill on conservation," said Pearlie S. Reed, Chief of NRCS. "Despite the large gains since 1982, we found that progress in erosion reduction has remained flat since 1995."
Other highlights from the"1997 State of the Land Update" include:
The special report provides data taken from 6,000 sampling sites across the country, supplemented by data collected in 1995 and 1996. It gives information on changes in erosion, cropland use, and conservation practices and is statistically reliable for national analysis. NRCS collected the data through aerial photography and the examination of the historical record of the land.
The full 1997 National Resources Inventory (NRI) report, which will be released next year after the statistical analysis is completed, covers 800,000 sample points and 170 data elements. Every five years, NRCS conducts the NRI to provide a progress report of the land on national, state, and local watersheds, or other substate levels. This report offers landowners, legislators, and policymakers a record of the accomplishments that have been made in conservation as well as the problems that still exist.
The complete "1997 State of the Land Update" can be found on the Internet, through the NRCS home page at http://www. nrcs. usda. gov. The report is also available by contacting the director of the Resources of NRCS at.:
USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Director
Resources Inventory Division
P.O. Box 2890
Washington, D.C. 20013
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