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Lower Mississippi River Basin

Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Lower Mississippi River Basin

Lower Mississippi River Basin Report cover

On August 27, 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced  the release of the CEAP-Cropland report on the effects of conservation practices on cropland in the Lower Mississippi River Basin.

This report is the seventh in a series of regional reports that continues the tradition within USDA of assessing the status, condition, and trends of natural resources to determine how to improve conservation programs to best meet the Nation's needs. These reports use a sampling and modeling approach to quantify the environmental benefits that farmers and conservation programs are currently providing to society, and explore prospects for attaining additional benefits with further conservation treatment.

Computer modeling simulations indicate that although farmers’ use of conservation practices in the Lower Mississippi River Basin has made good progress toward reducing sediment, nutrient, and pesticide losses from farm fields and subsequent loadings in rivers and streams in the region, significant conservation treatment is still needed to reduce nonpoint agricultural sources of pollution. Of the five major basins in the Mississippi River drainage, the use of conservation practices in the Lower Mississippi have reduced sediment and nutrient losses the least while the potential for further reductions is greatest. Comprehensive conservation planning and implementation that includes combinations of erosion-control and nutrient management practices are essential. Targeting the cropland that is most vulnerable to sediment or nutrient loss or that has the least conservation treatment in place will provide the greatest return on the conservation investment. More specific details on effects of practices are discussed in the full report and in the summary documents.

These documents require Adobe Acrobat

Technical information on the methodology for CEAP Cropland studies in general, including the one on the Lower Mississippi River Basin, and documentation reports on the modeling methodology, models and databases, is available.

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