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Climate Change, Water Discussed at USDA Conservation Meeting

nolan doesken state climatologist.JPG
Grace Hood
Nolan Doesken, state climatologist, addresses the USDA Agricultural Landscapes Forum

The US Department of Agriculture and the nonprofit Farm Foundation held a forum in Fort Collins today to discuss soil and water conservation policy. The meeting comes almost one year before an anticipated battle over the 2012 renewal of the Farm Bill.

At stake is an estimated $25 million in USDA dollars awarded under the Resources Conservation Act to farmers and ranchers who undertake projects for soil or water conservation. But right now some say the approach of working with individual land owners isn’t helping to shape a comprehensive strategy.

“I think what’s being talked about here is ‘Is that the most effective way?’ Do we need to do that in a more consolidated effort, whether it’s [on a] landscape or watershed basis,” said Allen Green, state conservationist for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service based in Denver.

The discussion touched on issues like climate change and water security that can affect farming and ranching in Colorado. The meeting is one of six being held across the country. The feedback gathered at all meetings will be discussed at a national conference in Washington DC in early April.