Clean Waters

Clean Waters

Clean Waters. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

The Obama Administration released a national clean water framework last week that showcases its comprehensive commitment to protecting the health of America's waters. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack was one of several people including EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson who took part in a media conference to discuss the framework.

VILSACK: America’s farmers, ranchers and forested landowners believe very deeply in the necessity of conserving our soil and preserving and protecting our water. And that’s why I think it’s important for USDA to respond to that ethic with actions, specific actions consistent to the President’s commitment to clean water. We have over the last 2 years made investments in 2575 projects; waste water sewer projects in rural communities across the United States.

The Administration's framework outlines a series of actions underway and planned across Federal agencies to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and that support farming, recreation, tourism and economic growth.

VILSACK: We have matched the commitment in rural communities with a commitment on the farm working with farmers and forested land owners to preserve land and prevent contamination of the water we’re using our conservation programs directed at large scale watershed improvements.

He says they have focused their efforts on 10 watershed across the U.S.

VILSACK: We’ve also begun a very aggressive assessment of conservation practices by land owners to ensure they are actually making a difference. And we know from a recent assessment of the Upper Mississippi River Basin area as well as the Chesapeake Bay that conservation is working. Voluntary site specific conservation works. We know a suite of practices is most effective and we know it must be coupled with management and we’re providing assistance and help to producers to ensure that they maximize conservation benefits.

Vilsack says that most farmers are already working towards these goals.

VILSACK: I’m pleased to note that the guidelines reflect an understanding and appreciation for what farmers are currently doing on the land in that it preserves existing exemptions for certain agricultural practices including prior converted crop lands, areas involving irrigation ditches, stock ponds and alike. We recognize and appreciate that farmers are willing to step up.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.

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