See more from this Session: Symposium--Improving Adoption of Nitrogen Management Technologies
Wednesday, November 3, 2010: 8:40 AM
Long Beach Convention Center, Room 203A, Second Floor
Individual farmers strive for increased crop yields. Environmental interest groups advocate for public policies to improve water and air quality. Are increased yields and environmental protection compatible goals? Can farmers capture value from both economic and environmental performance? Can NRCS programs influence growers to implement new technologies – like precision nutrient management, decision support systems, and enhanced efficiency fertilizers? USDA NRCS has developed the national Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) that provide payments to farmers to implement water quality practices & air resource enhancement activities. However, US EPA is advancing enforcement strategies to address agricultural surface water pollutants (such as TMDLs, CAFO permits, and numeric criteria) and air emission inventory reporting and regulations. Therefore, federal and state authorities are approaching agriculture with both a “carrot” and a “stick”. In Maryland and Delaware, USDA NRCS have stimulated innovation for both resource conservation and crop productivity through a tiered practices approach to Nutrient Management, including Nitrogen Use Efficiency, Precision Agriculture, and Decision Support System. This paper will: 1) provide an overview of the available national NRCS programs; 2) describe the success of adoption by farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed of innovative precision nutrient management technologies; 3) explore solutions to the barriers (including cost resistance) for accelerated adoption of these technologies; and 4) offer a USDA / US EPA policy direction to shield farmers from environmental enforcement actions through their implementation of Nitrogen Conservation Technologies.