Page images
PDF
EPUB

the total program has included research efforts to investigate the application of remote sensing technology to meet the needs of iculture in general and to meet specific needs identified by all SDA agencies. The SEA program is not being redirected. Our program has been involved in research on the application of remote sensing technology to the detection of plant stress, to the development of better crop growth models, to the use of remote sensing technology for assessing conservation practices, to monitor pollution from agricultural sources, and to provide data more efficiently and effectively for input into hydrology, soil moisture, conservation, pollution, and crop growth and yield models. The proposed increase will be used to expand SEA's ongoing research effort on the application of remote sensing technology to agricultural problems.

LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION RESEARCH

Mr. WHITTEN. You are requesting an increase of $2,600,000 for land and water conservation research in support of the Resource Conservation Act. Please give the Committee some examples of how these additional funds will be used. Dr. BERTRAND. An adequate supply of soil and water resources is the key to the survival of the world. All life depends on an adequate supply of these natural resources. We must, therefore, learn to use them wisely. We have had soil erosion since the beginning of time. It is a natural process, but it is accelerated when man disturbs the soil. This can be dramatic when large volumes of soil are eroded, resulting in gullies in the fields, or it can be less obvious when only a fraction of an inch of topsoil is lost during the year. The early farmers in this country, who used no methods of erosion control, quickly learned that after a few years of cropping, the fertile topsoil had been washed away and crop yields declined. Their answer was to move to new lands. Efforts were introduced in the 1930's to conserve our soil and water resource base. Many farmers adopted the recommended conservation practices and significantly reduced the rate of erosion from their land. But, about half of the farms in the country today do not have adequate conservation practices. We are still losing about 3 billion tons of soil annually. We no longer have the option to move to new land. The amount of land suitable for farming is finite and is declining every year as a result of demands placed on land for houses, factories, highways, and other uses. Recognizing the necessity for an accurate inventory of our natural resources base, the Congress passed Public Law 95-192, the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act of 1977—the RCA. In that law, the Secretary of Agriculture was requested to make an appraisal of soil, water, and related resources and their conservation, and to make informed long-range policy decisions regarding the use and protection of these resources. With the development of plans to implement the RCA, it became obvious that there was no reliable method for estimating the cost of erosion or the benefits to be derived from erosion research and control. Only scattered research data relating to the effect of erosion to soil productivity were available. Many times the effect of erosion on productivity was masked through the results of other research such as improved

crop varieties, increased fertilizer levels, supplemental irrigation,

the reduction from erosion.

In order to meet the requirements of the RCA, an empirical regression-type yield-soil loss relation was developed for use in establishing an optimal national soil management policy. Unfortunately, the predicted yield responses for many areas of the country differ widely from experimental observations, indicating an underlying weakness in the assessment relationship. A more accurate method of assessing the effect of erosion on long-term soil productivity as well as an assessment of the effectiveness of various conservation measures on controlling soil erosion is needed.

The increase of $2,600,000 will be used to initiate an intensive research program to respond to this need. This will be a multifaceted program that will include: developing mathematical models to predict the effect of erosion on soil productivity and crop yields and to evaluate the effect of various conservation practices on soil erosion and long-term soil productivity; initiating and conducting nationwide field experiments to determine the effect of erosion on soil productivity; developing and evaluating conservation tillage systems applicable to a wide range of crop residues and potential soil erodibility conditions; and improving the accuracy and range of application of models to predict water and wind erosion through the development of a sound theoretical understanding of the basic mechanics of erosion.

The results of this research will, for the first time, provide a scientifically based method for assessing the effect of erosion on long-term soil productivity and an assessment of the effectiveness of various conservation measures in controlling soil erosion.

TARGETING OF CONSERVATION PROGRAMS Mr. WHITTEN. You state that you plan to develop information needed to target soil conservation programs for various soils at different locations. How will this information be applied to the various conservation programs, and how would you propose that they use this information?

Dr. BERTRAND. The Soil Conservation Service-SCS-has lead agency responsibility for the RCA. Science and Education Administration, Agricultural Research, as the lead research agency in the Department, is working very closely with SCS on this project. Scientists of these two agencies are jointly planning the details of the field experiments, including site selection to be most representative of soils, climate, and topography and will jointly review and evaluate the results. SCS will have access to the data as soon as they are available and will be in a position to make recommendations regarding the effectiveness of various conservation practices for various sections of the country.

T-VALUE RESEARCH

Mr. WHITTEN. You also make reference to the fact that a prime objective of the RCA program is to reduce erosion to the T-value. Have you been doing any research on the T-value itself since there has been considerable controversy surrounding the T-value?

Dr. BERTRAND. You are right in drawing attention to the controversy and uncertainty surrounding the soil loss tolerance, or Tvalue, and the need for additional research in this area. These tolerance levels of soil erosion were derived by scientists from a number of disciplines at a series of regional workshops held in 1961 and 1962. In specifying soil loss tolerances for U.S. soils, a number of factors influencing plant growth and productivity were considered. Even so, the values specified reflect a consensus of broad professional judgment rather than hard scientific evidence obtained from controlled experiments designed to answer this question. Although additional experimental evidence has been obtained in recent years indicating an adverse impact of soil erosion on productivity for selected sites, no generally accepted methodology for conducting a nationwide assessment of the impacts of soil erosion on productivity is available. One of the major benefits of the proposed study on soil erosion and soil productivity is the substantially stronger scientific basis that it will give the concept of soil loss tolerance.

ACID RAIN

availab Labout anducting a rain research hasle of this hal Prote

doing in the conducting reser the last ser

Mr. WHITTEN. You are requesting $150,000 for research on acid rain, and you state that relatively little research information is available on this subject. Since the papers have been full of statements about acid rain over the last several years, it would seem someone is conducting research in this area. What has EPA been doing in the field of acid rain research?

Dr. BERTRAND. Considerable research has been conducted on the effect and distribution of acid rain, but little of this has dealt with the effect on crops and soils. The Environmental Protection Agency-EPA—and the Department of Agriculture have cooperated with several other agencies in developing an acid rain monitoring network. EPA is developing transport models to describe the movement and deposition patterns of acid producing emissions of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides from coal combustion and other sources. EPA is also conducting research on the environmental effects of acid precipitation on lakes and streams. Their results, along with those from other agencies and other nations, have established that acid rain does damage lakes, and that some fish species have been reduced or eliminated by acid precipitation. However, little information is available on the effect of acid rain on crop production and on our soil resource base. We propose to initiate research to determine if acid rain is a potential danger to our food production systems and to assess the long-term effects of acid rain on crops and soils.

SOIL MANAGEMENT RESEARCH IN ALASKA

Mr. WHITTEN. You are requesting an increase of $300,000 for soil management research in Alaska. This compares with a fiscal 1981 program of $138,000. Why are you proposing such a large increase over your fiscal 1981 program?

Dr. BERTRAND. Since 1978 over 60,000 acres of state land have been sold to farmers in the Delta Junction area of Alaska. Over three-fourths of this land has already been cleared and is ready to go into production. Another 20,000 acres just north of Anchorage is also expected to be opened for increased dairy production. In addition to this, approximately 300,000 acres at Nenana are being scheduled for development. By 1990 the State expects to have 500,000 acres in agricultural production. Alaska's ability to meet the challenges of expanded agriculture production in an environmentally and economically sound manner will depend, to a large extent, on how well the soil and water resources of the State are managed. In order to meet these challenges, the research program at Palmer, Alaska, must be expanded immediately to develop management systems that will enable the farmers of Alaska to utilize the vast acreages in an environmentally and economically sound manner.

Mr. WHITTEN. What have you accomplished to date with the funds provided for this research?

Dr. BERTRAND. Soil and water research in Palmer, Alaska, has been directed toward an understanding of fertility requirements of forage and vegetable species. The soils and climatic conditions of Alaska are sufficiently different from those in the contiguous 48 states that fertilizer requirements and fertility practices developed for this region of the country are not directly applicable to Alaskan conditions. Past research identified the major fertilizer requirements of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus of crops important to Alaskan agriculture. It has also identified the requirements for both sulfur and boron on certain forage species. The results of this work are being used as the basis for more basic research approaches to investigate plant nutrient stresses associated with the cold soil conditions in Alaska.

Mr. WHITTEN. How exactly do you plan to use the $300,000 increase?

Dr. BERTRAND. The increased funding will be used to develop conservation tillage or other residue management or soil and water conservation practices to protect soils being brought into production from water and wind erosion. It will also be used to develop fertilizer and plant nutrient management systems that result in optimum fertilizer use efficiency; and to develop soil and water management practices for the cold soil conditions in Alaska that allow optimum production of crops and maintenance of soil fertility and tilth without increasing potential soil erosion problems.

HUMAN NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTERS

Mr. WHITTEN. Would you please provide for the record a complete description of each of the six human nutrition research centers, showing their principal areas of research, their current staffing and their current funding levels?

[The information follows:] Facility: CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER AT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE. Program Area: This center, located in Houston, Texas, plans and conducts research

to develop a scientific basis for standards of nutrient intake and assessments of nutritional status. Program:

Nutrient requirements in infants, children, and pregnant and lactating women.

Relationships between nutrition and physical and mental development. Role of diet for optimum growth and development. Facility: GRAND FORKS HUMAN NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER. Program Area: The center in Grand Forks, North Dakota, plans and conducts research related to human nutrient requirements with emphasis on trace miner

als.

Program:

Nutritional requirements for zinc, nickel, copper, and other minor elements and their relationships to optimal health, function, and performance.

Physiological and biochemical factors influencing minor element requirements in all age groups.

Biological availability of minerals and effects of non-nutritive factors in foods and availability of minerals. Facility: WESTERN HUMAN NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER. Program Area: This center in San Francisco, California, plans and conducts research

related to intervention programs and nutritional requirements. Program:

Identifying the factors resulting in suboptimal nutritional status. Developing reliable, efficient, and inexpensive methods for defining nutritional status.

Planning and conducting research on human nutritional requirements.

Developing nutritional criteria for design and evaluation of intervention programs. Facility: HUMAN NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER ON AGING AT TUFTS UNIVERSITY. Program Area: This center in Boston, Massachusetts, plans and conducts research on nutrient needs of the elderly and the relation of dietary factors to the aging

process. Program:

Nutritional needs for optimal health, function, and performance throughout the lifespan.

Physiological and biochemical factors associated with aging which influence dietary requirements.

Dietary factors which influence the aging process. Facility: BELTSVILLE HUMAN NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER. Program Area: The center in Beltsville, Maryland, plans and conducts research

related to nutrient requirements of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health and disease prevention.

Composition of foods for those nutrients required by and biologically useful to humans.

Human requirements for proteins and amino acids, carbohydrates and energy intake, lipids, minerals, and vitamins and with the identification of the forms of these nutrients in food that may be useful in meeting human requirements. Facility: CONSUMER NUTRITION CENTER. Program Area: This center in Hyattsville, Maryland, plans and conducts nutritional and dietary intake assessment surveys of the total U.S. population and selected

groups to define food use and consumption. Program:

Develops techniques to assist consumers in selecting nutritionally adequate diets.

Develops suitable and safe procedures for food management and preparation for home and institutional consumers.

Compiles a Nutrient Data Bank on the composition of all important foods for nutrients required by and biologically useful to humans, and develops these data into reliable standard reference tables for use by consumers, dietitians, nutritionists, health professionals, food technologists, and others involved in the food chain.

Progra

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »