Region 10 Agriculture Strategy | Region 10 | US EPA

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Region 10 Agriculture

With more than nine hundred million acres devoted to agriculture, the United States is one of the world’s largest producers of crops, livestock and poultry. More than 45 million acres are farmed in Region 10, producing more than twelve billion dollars worth of food and fiber at the farmgate each year. The state by state statistics from recent years are: Alaska: 900,000 acres producing 51 million dollars; Oregon 17.4 million acres, three billion dollars; Idaho: 12 million acres, 3.4 billion dollars; and Washington: 15.6 million acres, 5.3 billion dollars.

The impact of agriculture can be measured both in terms of contributions to the US economy and our high standard of living as well as in costs to the environment. We are faced with groundwater contaminated with agricultural chemicals; surface water carrying sediments, pesticides, fertilizers, and animal wastes; altered or destroyed habitat, and air polluted by particulate matter blown from fallow fields and from burning stubble. Responses to some of these problems involve shifting impacts from one medium to another. For example, minimizing tillage may reduce windblown contaminants and result in cleaner air but may also increase the need for herbicides for weeds otherwise controlled by tillage.

EPA, on its own, cannot effectively address the many environmental impacts of agriculture and is forming partnerships with other stakeholders. For example, EPA is working with federal, state, and local governments as well as citizens and businesses to implement the Clean Water Action Plan. That effort is aimed at protecting and restoring the nation’s watersheds by reducing impacts from human activities including agriculture. Many EPA regional offices are working with other agencies to address the environmental problems and priorities in their states.

EPA Region 10, encompassing Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, has prepared this region-specific Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan to describe our direction and priorities with respect to activities linked to agriculture over the next three to five years. In addition, we have formed an Agriculture Sector Team (AST) consisting of staff and managers whose purpose is to systematically address the issues identified in this plan.

The Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan identifies specific environmental concerns related to agriculture which will be addressed by EPA Region 10 over the next three to five years. The Plan also provides a common set of principles for integrating program work across the agriculture sector and it defines the role of the EPA Region 10 Agriculture Sector Team (Ag Sector). Through the sector approach proposed and promoted here, the experiences of one program will inform other programs with the ultimate goal of a coordinated and practical approach to promoting environmentally sound farming practices.

The following vision and mission statements will guide Region 10's agricultural activities.

Not all parts of this strategy can be implemented in the short-term or concurrently due to the resource and staffing constraints of EPA and our cooperators. Some tasks are underway, or will be addressed shortly, but many elements of the strategy will take place in phases over many years. Accordingly, as resources and priorities change over time and additional information is gathered, we envision that the strategy will be updated and revised as needed.

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