November 20, 2017

Realizing the Promise of Buffer Technology

Realizing the Promise of Conservation Buffer Technology
Soil and Water Conservation Society, 2001


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Executive Summary
Buffers: A Research Agenda
Buffers: A Policy Reform Agenda
Buffers: A Communication Agenda
Appendix A: Workshop Participants
Appendix B: Flip-Chart Summaries

Executive Summary

A National Conservation Buffer Workshop was held in June 2001 to create an agenda for action that would further the use of conservation buffer technology and help the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) achieve its goal of assisting farmers and ranchers to install 2 million miles (7.2 million acres) of buffers by the end of calendar year 2002. The workshop involved 51 invited participants, including researchers, program administrators, communication experts, and agricultural and conservation organization representatives.


Three work groups were organized within the workshop: (1) Research Work Group, (2) Policy Work Group, and (3) Communication Work Group. Participants in each work group were asked to come to the workshop with two sets of ideas in hand.


Research Work Group participants were asked to (1) recommend what field research on conservation buffers is need to fill important information gaps about buffer effectiveness and (2) what research exists that could be translated immediately into more up-to-date technical standards and guidelines for buffer design, installation, and maintenance.


Policy Work Group participants were asked for their ideas on (1) how to improve the continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up so it would work better for agricultural producers and for the environment or (2) suggest a replacement program that would encourage more extensive use of conservation buffer technology.


Communication Work Group participants were asked for ideas on (1) improving communication with landowners and land managers about conservation buffers and USDA programs designed to help them use buffers to address multiple conservation problems and (2) improving communication and training of USDA personnel with regard to the use of buffer technology.


In organizing the workshop, the Soil and Water Conservation Society sought to take advantage of the enormous opportunity that exists to extend the use of what has been a greatly underused technology at a time when a USDA conservation program—the continuous CRP sign-up—offers landowners in many parts of the country attractive financial incentives to adopt the technology.


From the multitude of ideas offered during the workshop, each of the three work groups used extensive discussion and a voting process to reach a degree of consensus on an action agenda.

Suggested Citation
Soil and Water Conservation Society. 2001. Realizing the Promise of Conservation Buffer Technology. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society.


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