Reducing farm and ranch pollution
Engaging agricultural producers and agencies in your river and watershed protection efforts can have a big impact. Whether it’s supporting national efforts to strengthen conservation practices in the Farm Bill, supporting innovative policies for your state’s agricultural sector, working directly with farmers to fence cattle from streams, or implementing best practices to reduce nitrogen in our waters, farmers and ranchers are critical partners in our quest for a more sustainable future for our rivers.
River and watershed conservation organizations may choose to partner with local agricultural districts to increase the enrollment of agricultural cost-share programs. Innovative projects seek to engage agricultural communities in conservation, increasing their knowledge about cost-share programs, agricultural science, and available best practices. State departments of agriculture, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may offer other opportunities for funding and collaboration given their role in developing, regulating and enforcing agricultural policies in coordination with their state and federal legislatures, including those related to the protection and enhancement of natural resources.
When clear violations of local agricultural policies are observed, whatever they may be, information can be provided to local conservation districts and state agencies for follow-up inspection and enforcement. Programs such as volunteer water quality monitoring networks, which are active in many states, can help collect and funnel citizen reports of violations to the proper authorities. Use the tools listed on this page to get you started.
- Why we need the Phosphorous Management Tool by University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
- Building a water quality trading program by World Resources Institute
- Financial assistance programs for agricultural best practices by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service