The WQIP projects also showed substantial amounts of acreage being treated by a variety of management practices.
The WQIP and HUA projects were targeted to watersheds with known water quality problems, such as those identified by States under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.
The incentive structure of WQIP was found to be inadequate for achieving program goals in a study by the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
Practices such as nutrient management, rotations, and conservation tillage have been shown to increase net returns in many areas, and these practices were the most popular in the WQIP. However, the results also indicated that at current payment levels, only conservation tillage and split applications were attractive to at least 50% of producers.
Consequently, from a public policy perspective, farmers' reactions towards an authorized conservation policy to limit nonpoint source pollution such as the WQIP are a major concern.
Means and standard deviations of socioeconomic variables for surveyed farmers responding to questions about the WQIP Standard Variable Mean deviation Farmland (Ac) 380.97 434.82 Cropland (Ac) 313.80 349.95 Age (Yr) 51.68 12.81 % Gross farm sales from cash grain 53.84 36.21 from dairy 5.55 17.74 from cattle 12.17 23.44 from hogs 11.34 23.13 from vegetables(*) 3.07 11.33 from cash rent 5.53 20.59 from gov't payments 7.51 12.14 from other sources 1.28 7.2 * includes specialty crops N = 549 Source: Survey data Table 2.
Along with an environmentally expanded Conservation Reserve Program (Agricultural Resources Conservation Program), the Integrated Farm Management Program Option, the Wetland Reserve Program, and continued support for Conservation Compliance, Title XIV of the Food Agriculture Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 authorized the WQIP (Section 1238).
Through the WQIP, farmers who agree to work with the NRCS in the development of multiyear water quality protection plans and who implement the plans are eligible to receive a per-acre incentive payment of up to a maximum for the whole farm of $3,500 per year for a three- to five-year period.
Other examples are ICMP and WQIP
. The ICMP reduced fertilizer as intended but produced mixed results on pesticides, sometimes increasing their use (Dobbs 1993).
From a program implementation perspective, the issue of agrichemical suppliers' and independent consultants' participation in federal programs was originally and indecisively addressed in the context of the WQIP (Peitscher).
The CCA program was, in part, a reaction to USDA's decision to confer significant autonomy to consultants considered to be independent of product sales while requiring substantial SCS oversight of WQIP management plans written by dealers.
The merits of WQIP and related plan-oriented policy proposals should be assessed, in part, according to impacts on local consulting markets and infrastructure.