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now being conducted by SCS place emphasis on the practices the land user has applied as a result of the plan and not on the plan itself.
Agricultural Runoff Problems In Virginia
Mr. Robinson. The SCS and Virginia State Water Control Board recently looked at 15 watersheds in Virginia and found some serious problems from agriculture runoff. Can you comment on these findings?
Response. The Soil Conservation Service and the State Water Control Board conducted a joint study of potential water quality problems caused by agricultural pollution. The study was financed by EPA. A total of 15 watersheds from the 5 basins with the greatest potential for pollution were identified as having high potential for creating water quality problems as a result of agriculture run-off. The erosion rates, cropping patterns, livestock numbers, fertilization practices, and other similar parameters were used to identify potential. This study and the resulting information was used as input to the state water quality management plan. The information will serve as documentation for requests for specific program assistance. Possibilities for assistance include the P.L. 566 Small Watershed Program, the Experimental Rural Clean Water Program, the Agricultural Conservation Program, the clean lakes program of EPA, and local initiatives.
Mr. Whitten. I want to compliment you on your presentation, Mr. Berg. We look forward to working with you, Mr. Secretary. Mr. Berg. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Whitten. The Committee is adjourned. [The prepared statement and the Explanatory Notes follow:]
SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE
Statement of Norman A. Berg, Chief, Soil Conservation Service, before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies.
I am pleased to appear again before your Subcommittee to discuss our 1982 Budget Estimate as amended on March 10, 1981.
I want to thank you for your continued and deep concern for the farmer, rancher, and forester and American agriculture. Your understanding of their need to conserve, develop and improve the Nation's soil and water resources has led to Congress authorizing about thirty soil, water, and watershed conservation programs in the past 45 years. These include all that my agency administers plus programs for research, extension and financial assistance to help the land and water users invest their resources for public benefit.
The extensive appraisal that we have made pursuant to the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act of 1977 (RCA) has identified the major soil, water, and related resource problems facing the Nation. This appraisal provides compelling evidence that these problems will worsen as further demands are placed on our land and water resources due to projected needs for food and fiber for domestic consumption and export.
We have completed all of the technical inputs into the RCA process called for in the Act and have furnished all of the information developed to the Office of the Secretary for their review. The 1982 RCA program has not been formulated yet. Therefore, the fiscal year 1982 budget is not based on any specific RCA program recommendations. Hopefully, the Program will be finalized within the next few months, and the 1983 Budget will reflect these decisions.
This budget will permit SCS to carry out its broad responsibilities for our Nation's soil and water conservation program at about the current level for most activities. It provides for assistance on a national scale to farmers and ranchers, other land users, and units of government.
The revised budget that you have before you for consideration is a conservative one that responds to the current economic situation and the need to exercise fiscal restraint in federal spending. Inflation, caused in part by the rapid growth of the Federal Budget, is not only a major problem for you and me as consumers, but it is also a number one enemy of federal programs. Funding for Soil Conservation Service programs is a prime example. Despite Increases of about 68Z in actual appropriations over the past ten years, our purchasing power has actually declined by about 17Z. The control of the double digit inflation of recent years is critical to preserving buying power of the federal program dollar. We all must make some sacrifices in order to achieve this very desirable longer range goal.
The total 1982 budget proposed for the SCS is $552,539,000. Compared to the current estimate for 1981, it Includes program decreases of $55,374,000 and increases of $19,556,000 primarily to fund Increased operating and pay costs for a net decrease of $35,818,000. Both the fiscal year 1981 and 1982 Estimate have incorporated into them a series of reductions reflecting the current Administration's efforts to reduce federal travel, procurement, use of consulting services, and employment levels. Total reductions of $6.3 million in FY 1981 and $2.7 million in FY 1982 have been made to reflect these savings.
The budget proposal Includes $317,639,000 for Conservation Operations. This is a net increase of $6,730,000 from fiscal year 1981. Six activities are funded under this appropriation, Including:
Conservation Technical Assistance
The FY 1982 Budget proposes $236,925,000 for Conservation Technical Assistance. This is $3,844,000 more than fiscal year 1981. This is the net result of a $7,144,000 increase primarily to defray Increased operating costs and pay costs and a program decrease of $3,300,000.
For 1982, we will continue to focus our attention and resources on major conservation needs throughout the country, including those related to erosion, prime farmlands, water quality and supply, agricultural waste management, and providing services to Indian lands. We will use $6.7 million of these funds to accelerate the treatment of serious conservation problems in the West Tennessee Region which includes parts of Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky; the Southern Piedmont areas of Alabama and Georgia; the Palouse areas of Washington, Oregon and Idaho; and the most erosion prone areas of Missouri and Iowa. We will also provide more assistance to the Irrigated water-short areas of the Western States.
Through Conservation Technical Assistance, we provide the technology and site-specific, on-the-ground assistance that farmers, ranchers, foresters, and units of government need to develop and apply conservation plans and practices. SCS technical services are provided to these land users through 2,925 conservation districts established and operated under state law.
In fiscal year 1982, SCS will help about 873,000 land users apply conservation practices to adequately protect about 37 million acres of land. These practices will help conserve soil and water, improve water quality, and Improve and maintain our Nation's agricultural productivity. Some practices, such as conservation tillage, crop rotations, contouring, and irrigation water management, also help to reduce fuel and labor costs. SCS also will continue to provide technical services for conservation activities administered by other agencies, Including the Agricultural Conservation, Water Bank, Emergency Conservation Measures, Rural Clean Water, and Rural Abandoned Mine Programs and a variety of state and local conservation programs.
Many land users are making significant contributions to conserving soil, water, energy, and wildlife. State and local governments and the private sector are making significant investments in labor and money to