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Water in the News

December 1, 2014

Agriculture, Interior Departments partner to measure conservation impacts on water quality
Water Online

The United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new partnership agreement recently that will provide a clearer picture of the benefits of farmers’ conservation practices on the quality of our Nation’s water. Working together, USDA’s NRCS and DOI’s USGS will quantify the benefits of voluntary agricultural practices at a watershed scale. This information will strengthen the effectiveness of state and federal nutrient reduction strategies while protecting the privacy of individual farmers.

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Ecology changing watershed evaluation process
Capital Press

The Washington state Department of Ecology is changing the way it evaluates farming operations for potential pollution, and the executive director of the Washington Agriculture Legal Foundation says it is a good first step. The agency recently unveiled the changes it is planning during a agricultural and water quality advisory committee meeting. Under the changes, letters from the department to producers would include specific information about observed pollution problems, an offer for farmers to access documentation related to their operation and a clear timeline for producers to contact the agency.

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The science of variable climate and agroecosystem management
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation

Highly variable climate presents uncertainty and risk challenges to managing water and soil resources in agricultural landscapes. The Third National Climate Assessment documents increased climate disruptions to agriculture in the U.S. over the past 40 years and projects accelerated impacts in the next 25 years. Loss and degradation of soil and water assets due to increasing extremes in precipitation are identified as key concerns to both rainfed and irrigated agriculture.

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Reducing climate change risk for agriculture
Farm Futures

A number of agriculture groups at this fall’s UN Climate Summit signed on to a new, three-year North American initiative that will give farmers the opportunity to work with industry, academic, government and nongovernmental partners to mitigate the risks of changing climate conditions. “With increasing public focus turning to the climate, farmers must take a seat at the table to ensure our interests and concerns on this topic are accurately represented,” says Paul Taylor, a farmer from Esmond, Illinois.

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