A new report shows a boom in growing certain specialty crops as well as a growth in agricultural land, stable erosion rates, and notable land use changes. These are some of the findings of the 2010 National Resources Inventory Report from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The report provides a summary on the status, condition and trends of land, soil, water and related resources on the nation’s private lands. The report includes data from 800-thousand sample locations across the country. NRCS Chief Jason Weller says the NRI summary report is the only report of its kind and is one of the most comprehensive tools to understanding what’s happening on the country’s landscape. He says the information is an invaluable resource to help NRCS understand where conservation is working and where to focus more effort.
According to the report – cropland erosion rates remained stable between 2007 and 2010. That’s despite the growth in agricultural land use and more extreme weather events. Dr. Patrick Flanagan – National Statistician for USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service – says an increase in erosion was expected. The latest National Resources Inventory summary report features data on how U.S. non-federal rural lands are being used.
The data also shows that between 2007 and 2010 – fruit, nut and flower production acreage surged from 124,800 to almost 274-thousand; cropland acres increased by two-million acres – following a steady decline over the previous 25 years; pastureland increased by 847-thousand acres; developed land increased by two-percent from 111.1-million to 113.3-million acres; and acres enrolled in NRCS programs grew from about 17-million acres in 2007 to about 40-million in 2010. Weller says NRCS is excited more farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are voluntarily installing conservation practices on their operations. It’s because of their hard work and dedication – he says – that cropland erosion rates have remained stable even though more land I in production.
To access the full report – visit www dot nrcs dot usda dot gov (www.nrcs.usda.gov).
Source: NAFB news service