Surveys

Conservation Effects Assessment Project

Inventory Survey

In recent decades, Congress has demonstrated strong support for conservation programs through Farm Bill legislation. The intent of this legislation is to ensure the nation’s farmlands remain healthy and productive while helping farmers and ranchers prevent soil erosion, maintain water quality, and protect natural resources. Conservation programs save millions of acres from soil erosion, enhance water and air quality, restore and protect wetlands and wildlife habitat and conserve water. Private landowners benefit from an assortment of assistance, including cost-share, land rental, incentive payments as well as technical assistance to adopt and maintain conservation practices. The 2016 National Resources Inventory (NRI) – Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) survey seeks to collects information from farmers and ranchers to more accurately measure the environmental benefits associated with implementation and installation of conservation practices on agricultural land. National Agricultural Statistics Service representatives will visit nearly 25,000 farms nationwide to interview farmers about production practices including:

  • Chemical, fertilizer and manure applications
  • Integrated pest management
  • Installed conservation practices
  • Land and water use decisions
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    What is CEAP?

    CEAP is a multi-agency effort to quantify the environmental effects of conservation practices and programs and develop the science base for managing the agricultural landscape for environmental quality. Project findings will be used to guide USDA conservation policy and program development and help conservationists, farmers and ranchers make more effective and efficient conservation decisions. More information about CEAP is available at the NRCS Conservation Effects Assessment Project landing page.

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    Why should farmers participate in CEAP?

    The CEAP survey gives farmers and ranchers a convenient and efficient opportunity to provide a more complete and accurate picture of the conservation practices they use on their lands and in their operations. Who better to describe such practices than the farmers and ranchers themselves? By documenting the significant efforts made by America’s farmers to conserve natural resources while producing the food, fuel and fiber the world requires, respondents help ensure continued support for and funding of conservation programs that protect natural resources while respecting farmers’ livelihoods.

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    How is CEAP conducted?

    NASS representatives will visit 25,000 farms nationwide, from July 2016-October 2016 to determine whether an operation qualifies for the survey. From October 2016-February 2017, we visit those operations that qualified to collect information about conservation practices. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will combine the data collected with information from its hydrologic, climate and soil databases to estimate environmental and management conditions for the areas surveyed.

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    Will my information be kept confidential?

    NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified, as required by Federal law. Participants’ responses cannot be used for the purposes of taxation, investigation or regulation (Title 7, U.S. Code, and CIPSEA, Public Law 107-347).


NASS conducted the CEAP survey under a cooperative agreement with NRCS. Data obtained from the project may help NRCS conservationists and partners determine the efficiency and effectiveness of current conservation techniques and help identify best practices. CEAP results may also help:

  • Evaluate resources farmers and ranchers may need in the future to further protect soil, water, and habitat
  • Shed light on techniques farmers and ranchers use to conserve healthy agricultural systems and environments
  • Improve and strengthen technical and financial programs that help farmers and ranchers plan and install conservation measures on agricultural land
  • Support conservation programs that can help farmers and ranchers’ profits while also protecting natural resources

Last Modified: 09/28/2020