NRCS Chief Says EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Model Inaccurate Regarding Agriculture
DENVER – U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White addressed cattlemen and women at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) annual convention today, Feb. 4, in Denver. White discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to implement the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rule. In a report, Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Chesapeake Bay Region, developed by the NRCS, very different estimates of pollutant loads to the Chesapeake Bay are reported compared to EPA’s data. White believes EPA’s data is flawed when it comes to agriculture.
“Where we have a problem is we think this Bay model is not 100 percent accurate when it comes to agriculture,” White said. “There is just some erroneous stuff in there. We believe 88 percent of cropland (in the Bay areas) is under no-till. EPA is saying 50 percent. That’s a big, big difference.”
Ashley Lyon, NCBA deputy environmental counsel, said it was reassuring to hear White reinforce the need for an accurate study.
“Given the seriousness of this issue and potential regulatory consequences to agriculture, it is absolutely imperative that a more accurate study is conducted. The regulations that will likely be derived from EPA’s flawed model will put farmers and ranchers out of business,” Lyon said. “This regulation not only impacts agricultural producers living on the Chesapeake Bay watershed but lays the foundation for all watersheds. Sound science must be the basis for any regulations.”
White said NRCS continues to work with EPA to collect accurate, science-based information.
Click here for convention photos.