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support costs financed under this program. Without these additional
(c) An increase of $500,000 to restore the non-recurring FY 1981 congressional
decrease related to employment Tapse savings generated by the FY 1980-81 hiring limitation.
A decrease of $3,300,000 in technical assistance program activities.
Need for Change. The pressing need to reduce Federal expenditures in
Nature of Change. Direct technical assistance to the Nation's conservation district cooperators would be reduced by about 137 staffyears or approximately 2 percent below the 1981 level.
An increase of $699,000 for inventory and monitoring consisting of:
An increase of $380,000 for increased operating costs. The increased
(c) An increase of $300,000 to restore the non-recurring FY 1981 congressional
decrease related to employment lapse savings generated by the FY 1980-81 hiring limitation.
(3) An increase of $1,068,000 for soil surveys consisting of:
(a) An increase of $61,000 for pay costs.
(b) An increase of $1,007,000 for increased operating costs. The increased
funds are needed in order to maintain the same level of program effort
(4) An increase of $82,000 for snow surveys and water forecasting consisting of:
(a) An increase of $2,000 for pay costs.
An increase of $80,000 for increased operating costs. The increased
(5) An increase of $459,000 for operation of plant materials centers consisting of:
(a) An increase of $5,000 for pay costs
An increase of $54,000 for increased operating costs. The increased
An increase of $400,000 for replacement of equipment and maintenance of facilities at plant materials centers
Need for Change. For the past several years, funding constraints have
Nature of Change. The funds requested would allow the initiation of a planned maintenance program to address the more than $1.7 million worth of identified needs at the plant materials centers including:
-- Health and safety items including adequate pesticides handling facilities, dust control in seed processing areas, and other safety equipment;
-- Energy conservation measures including replacement, repair, and/or retrofitting of obsolete high energy requiring heating and cooling equipment, and installation of solar seed drying equipment;
-- Replacement of inefficient and obsolete equipment such as combines, tractors, tillage equipment, planters, seed cleaning and processing equipment, and irrigation equipment; and
-- Maintenance of buildings including construct; or of adequate storage facilities to provide improved protection of equipment and improvements to existing storage buildings and greenhouses
These additional funds would provide for some of these items and thus
(6) An increase of $192,000 for resource appraisal and program development consisting of:
An increase of $4,000 for pay costs
An increase of $188,000 for increased operating costs. The increased
STATUS OF PROGRAM
The Soil Conservation Service, a technical agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, was established by and is to carry out provisions of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, Public Law 74-46, April 27, 1935. Activity under this appropriation consists of furnishing technical assistance to farmers. ranchers, rural communities, and others through 2.925 conservation districts under the terms of memoranda of understanding between districts and USDA. Local districts are units of government formed under authority of State law. Local people plan, direct, and participate in the conservation programs of the districts.
Cooperation with Soil and Water Conservation Districts: Officials of conservation districts are local leaders in the development and operation of appropriate land use and conservation treatment programs on private and other lands within the districts. They solicit local, State and Federal participation in locally-adapted programs that conserve and improve land and water resources. Over the years they have developed cooperative ways of financing conservation programs which provide numerous public and private benefits. Non-federal contributions of funds and services to Soil and Water Conservation Districts Programs were approximately 250 million dollars for FY 1980.
Status of District Oranization by kinds of districts, cumulative to September 30, 1980 is as follows:
Cooperation with other Agencies: Many Federal and State agencies rely upon the technical expertise unique to the Soil Conservation Service to plan and implement programs which impact rural residents and/or resources. Some examples are the Coastal Zone Management Program of the Department of Commerce, the Nonpoint Source Pollution Program of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Agricultural Conservation Program and the Experimental Rural Clean Water Program of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, and the Surface Mining and Reclamation Program of the Department of Interior. SCS also cooperates with the Agency for International Development (AID) by providing technical assistance to foreign countries and training of foreign agriculturists in the application and use of soil and water conservation practices. Technical assistance is now provided to 14 foreign countries and'training is given to about 160 foreign trainees onsite in the United States.
In addition, SCS has leadership in a special project to update soil surveys and resource reports and adapt Soil Taxonomy toward classification of tropical soils in several developing countries. We are now assisting Sudan and Senegal in the planning and evaluation of soil survey programs.
Information Services: Current information work of the Soil Conservation Service is directed toward encouraging farmers and ranchers to apply appropriate conservation practices to protect and preserve our natural resource base of soil and water. Information is issued through press releases, photographs, slide presentations, publications, speeches, magazine articles, and radio and television public service announcements.
This appropriation is further divided into subappropriation items as follows:
Current Activities: Technical services and other assistance furnished by the Soil Conservation Service under this appropriation item include the following activities:
Planning Assistance: Conservation planning assistance is provided by trained specialists in resource conservation and management. Needed resource information on soils, vegetation, and other physical conditions are inventoried and interpreted for alternative uses and conservation and resource management systems. These data are used in assisting land users to make decisions on the uses that will be made of the land and the type and general sequence for applying conservation and resource management practices to protect the resource base. The general objective is a conservation plan that is economically feasible with conservation and management systems that protect or improve the natural resource base. This service requires professional skills from a variety of specialized resource management disciplines whose services reflect an interdisciplinary approach to recognizing and planning treatment of conservation problems adapted to the intended land use. Some of the benefits of planning assistance accruing to both rural and urban residents are reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation, cleaner water, the reduction of health hazards, improvement of fish and wildlife habitat, flood prevention, and the preservation of our resource base for the production of food and fiber.
Application Assistance: The Soil Conservation Service furnishes technical assistance to land users to help them apply planned conservation measures. This includes design, layout, and onsite technical assistance.
Some specific problems to which efforts are now being directed are:
Critical Erosion: There are 248 million acres of agricultural land with excessive sheet and rill erosion. There are 57 million acres of agricultural land contributing 690 million tons of excess soil loss annually due to wind erosion. Agricultural land with excessive erosion is the principal target for soil conservation efforts, currently carried out by the Soil Conservation Service.
Water Conservation: Nationwide, irrigation accounts for approximately 80 percent of the total water consumed. Intensive use and competition for water is especially acute in those States where agriculture is almost totally dependent on irrigation water. One key to insuring adequate water for the future for all uses is to conserve existing supplies. An important element in the total water conservation effort is improving the efficiency of irrigation water use. Efficiency ranges from 46 to 65 percent in ten States and is less than 45 percent in six States. On farm irrigation efficiencies of 75 to 80 percent are feasible with currently available technology and management techniques. The Soil Conservation Service has in recent years began to accelerate its technical assistance in the area of water conservation.
Maintaining adequate mulch on the soil surface on this Palouse farm in Washington State is one important facet of conservation planning as is being discussed here between the farm operator and the Soil Conservation Service District Conservationist. Conservation planning is an open-ended process through which the landowner or operator makes decisions as to the use and preservation of two of his and our most valuable resources--soil and water.