Montana Releases 2010 National Resources Inventory Results
BOZEMAN, Mont., Mar. 6, 2014— The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Montana released results from the 2010 National Resources Inventory, a statistical survey of land use and natural resource conditions and trends on U.S. non-federal lands. The inventory samples data from over 800,000 locations across the country.
Among the 1982 to 2010 national highlights: land dedicated for fruits, nuts, and flowers increased from 124.8 million in 2007 to 273.8 million in 2010 and cropland acreage increased by about 2 million acres from 2007 to 2010 after a steady decline over the previous 25 years.
In Montana, cropland acres and erosion were relatively constant between 2007 and 2010. “Despite an 11 percent decrease in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in Montana, total cropland acres did not significantly increase,” said Julie Tesky, Montana NRCS’s state resources inventory coordinator.
The expired CRP acres remained in hay or pasture, rather than going back into cultivated cropland. “We are excited that many ranchers and farmers are voluntarily keeping expired CRP acres in hay or pasture,” said Tesky. “This has helped erosion rates remain stable and continued the conservation benefits of CRP.”
Data for the NRI report is collected annually. According to Tesky, it is one of the most comprehensive tools to understanding what’s actually happening on the country’s landscape.
“It is the only report of its kind,” said Joyce Swartzendruber, NRCS state conservationist for Montana. “As a science-based organization, this information is an invaluable resource to help us understand where conservation is working and where we need to focus more effort.”
Download the report here. For more information, contact Tesky at Julie.Tesky@mt.usda.gov.