Friday, February 26, 2016

USDA, Partners Urge Farmers To Fill Out 3 Surveys To Evaluate Conservation Practices

There are several surveys currently underway and coming soon that will help USDA and partners assess the benefits of voluntary conservation and identify conservation needs throughout Pennsylvania and in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The surveys include USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project Cropland National Assessment (CEAP2) and NRCS Supplemental Survey, and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Study.
It is important for farmers to complete all of these surveys, as they help document all the conservation work producers are doing to improve the landscape.
Conservation Effects Cropland National Assessment
The USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service are currently conducting the Conservation Effects Assessment Project Cropland National Assessment (CEAP2).
This is the second CEAP study designed to provide an evaluation of the trends in and effects of conservation practices implemented since CEAP-1. CEAP-2 is the same as CEAP-1, except that CEAP-2 includes cropland and pasture acres.
Updated information will help document the current trends in management and prevalence of conservation practices on the landscape and can positively influence conservation planning, program development, and practice implementation, thus enhancing the benefits of voluntary conservation.
CEAP-2 began in October 2015 and is taking place through 2017. The process begins with the selection of National Resource Inventory points representative of our Nation’s agricultural lands.
Next, trained enumerators from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture will visit the farmer or manager at each of the selected points to see if they are willing to voluntarily participate in the CEAP farmer survey (available online).
Farmers who participate will describe the farming and conservation practices they have adopted on their own lands over the previous three years.
NRCS Supplemental Survey
Another survey critical to the CEAP analyses is the NRCS Supplemental Survey, that gathers information from NRCS records and knowledge related to conservation activities, practices, and program participation related to the fields that were surveyed.
The content of the supplemental survey will be available in coming weeks on the same website as the farmer survey.
USDA sincerely appreciates your support for the CEAP effort.
The information from the CEAP survey will provide the farming community, the general public, scientists, and policymakers with a current account of the trends in conservation practice adoption and their impacts on soil health and water quality.
Additionally, CEAP-2 reports will identify conservation successes from which we can learn to develop more comprehensive conservation plans and implement more effective practices and programs.
CEAP-2 will also identify conservation needs across the country so that NRCS can better allocate future resources to our agricultural communities to further protect the soil, water, and related resources on which our farming and ranching communities depend on.
Questions regarding CEAP2 can be directed to John Chibirka, 610-372-4655, ext. 112 or by sending email to:, or Joe Kraft, 717-237-2207 or by email to:
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Study
The other survey taking place is the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Study, a collaborative effort by Penn State University and several state agencies, conservation organizations, and other non-governmental organizations.
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Study aims to determine the amount of conservation practice adoption on Pennsylvania farms. Cumulative results will be provided to the Department of Environmental Protection to document the practices that Pennsylvania farmers are doing to conserve soil and water, and protect water quality.
Ten percent of the participants in this inventory will be randomly selected for farm visits by Penn State Extension to assess the accuracy of the overall inventory.
On January 29, the Survey Research Center mailed a letter to more than 20,000 farmers in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, inviting them to participate in the survey.
The letter provides a link to the survey online, allowing farmers to respond to the survey at the SRC’s secure web location. Farmers receiving the letter should use the five-digit code provided in the letter to log-in and complete the survey.
All farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are urged to fill out the survey, whether they received an invitation letter in the mail or not.
If a farmer in the Chesapeake Bay watershed has not received a mailing from the SRC but would like to fill out the survey, they can request a survey in one of three ways:
-- Visit the website to request a code number to fill out the survey online, or have a survey mailed;
-- Call the Survey Research Center at 1-866-898-4277 to request a survey by mail. Be sure to reference “PA Farm Conservation Practices Inventory Project” in your request; or
-- Fill out a postcard or sign-up sheet available at many winter meetings held by survey partners.
For additional information regarding the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Survey please contact Matt Royer, Penn State University, 111B Ferguson Building, University Park, PA 16802, call 814-863-8756 or send email to:
For more information on federal farm conservation programs, visit the NRCS Pennsylvania webpage.

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