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Bill allows farmers better access to information about benefits of conservation practices.

March 12, 2018

2 Min Read

A duo of Midwestern senators have introduced legislation to improve agriculture data research of conservation practices.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Thune, R.-S.D., introduced the Agriculture Data Act on March 1, 2018. The legislation would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to collect, collate, integrate, and link data relating to the impacts of covered conservation practices on enhancing crop yields, soil health, and otherwise reducing risk and improving farm and ranch profitability. It would also give the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to establish a secure, confidential cloud-based conservation and farm productivity data warehouse to store operational, transactional, and administrative program databases and records that support business, statistical, and other analysis.

“This bipartisan legislation will ensure hardworking farmers are able to capitalize on the United States Department of Agriculture’s vast resources to streamline their operations, enhance yields, and increase profits,” Klobuchar said.

“One of the greatest challenges with applying the most effective conservation practices, like cover crops on working lands, is measuring the economic value these practices can provide, such as increased crop yields on subsequent crops,” Thune said. “This legislation would help farmers and land-grant universities better utilize USDA’s massive collection of conservation data and enable them to choose the best conservation practices that would improve productivity on farming operations.”

The Agriculture Data Act has been endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation, the Nature Conservancy, the Environmental Defense Fund, and AGree.

“. . . This will provide farmers in Minnesota, and across the country, access to better information about the benefits of conservation practices to soil, water, wildlife and producer economics,” said Jason Dinsmore, Interim Executive Director of Minnesota Conservation Federation and Director of Conservation Partnerships for National Wildlife Federation.

“Conservation is a key element of South Dakota’s production agriculture landscape, and there’s an urgent need to learn more about the value of conservation practices in enhancing crop production, improving soil health, and reducing risk. The Agriculture Data Act of 2018 could provide land-grant universities, such as South Dakota State University, better access to USDA-compiled conservation data, resulting in more accurate recommendations for conservation practices and precision agriculture tools that are most beneficial for crop production and soil health,” said Lisa Richardson, executive director of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association. 

Source: Office of Sen. Amy Klobuchar


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