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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Agriculture and Water Quality: a National Perspective

Author
item Hatfield, Jerry

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 14, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Over the past 10 years there has been an increasing awareness about nonpoint source pollution and the potential linkage to agriculture. Observations of pesticide occurrence in streams and lakes adjacent to agricultural fields have prompted much discussion about whether to ban or greatly restrict agricultural activities that would potentially impair water quality. Equally important in this debate has been the recognition by producers that not all fields behave the same, and thus there is a need to develop more site-specific information that can be used for planning and management. Nevertheless, agriculture has been under the microscope in terms of showing how current practices can be improved to impact environmental quality. The challenge to the agricultural community is to begin to understand the complexities of farming practices on environmental quality and to begin to think holistically about the management approaches at a watershed scale or an aggregate of farms. Current research and education efforts in water quality throughout the nation are supplying the knowledge base to help provide these answers; however, the challenge remains to expand these studies up to the farm and watershed scale so that tools can be provided to producers and policy makers about the diversity of options available and the potential positive benefits of these changes. Water quality research conducted in concert with farm-scale research can provide valuable answers to this perplexing and multi-faceted problem. Agriculture can work and is working toward the solution to these problems; however, these activities should be targeted to the areas that have problems without blanket application so that all segments of society will benefit.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014
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