See more from this Session: Sustainable Agriculture and Ecosystem Services: Role of Conservation Tillage, Crop Rotation, and Nutrient Management: II
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
Many conservation practices are implemented with financial and technical assistance from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), administered by the USDA. The extent to which practices specific to grasslands and pasture-based production systems have been adopted is not clear. We used contract-level administrative data from EQIP for the eastern U.S. (roughly, east of the Missouri River) to assess the physical footprint and financial expenditure for conservation practices associated with grasslands and unconfined animal production systems, including fencing, grazing and harvest management, and restriction of animal access. These practices represent a relatively small proportion of total EQIP spending from 2004 to 2009, but encompass more than 100,000 individual contracts. EQIP funds that were identifiable by livestock class (e.g., beef, dairy, etc.) and which were potentially associated with grassland systems totaled nearly $340 million. Some practices supported by EQIP are clearly associated with grasslands, like prescribed grazing and livestock exclusion, while other are more ambiguous, like nutrient management. For most standard practices, the expenditures from EQIP were overwhelmingly (75-97%) associated with beef production. Prescribed grazing and forage crop establishment, two of the most common practices, were implemented on nearly 3 million acres.