NRD Lawsuit over USDA GIS data Access

Central Platte NRD Sues USDA Over Information Access
By Robert Pore
Published: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 7:56 PM CDT
…The NRD is trying to gain access to the USDA’s geographic information system, or GIS, data to help it provide guidance on irrigation practices, mapping of cropland and district decisions. … The district decided to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the information from the USDA in an effort to “bring the issue to a head,” Bishop said. “At one point, they indicated that we were going to get it, but then the new Farm Bill changed the language on the privacy deal, and now they say we can’t have it,” he said. …

Bishop said the information could be used to determine such practices as fertilizer and water use on private farmland that receives government farm benefits. For example, when it comes to the Central Platte NRD water quality program, having access to information about those growers who use nitrogen fertilizer would be helpful and cost effective.” …

Another example in which access to that USDA information would be helpful to the NRD is when the district had to certify all the irrigated acres in the Central Platte NRD. There are nearly 1 million acres of irrigated farmland in the district. The district had to certify all irrigated acres when the state mandated in 2004 a moratorium on all new irrigated acres and irrigation wells in districts that were deemed fully or overappropriated in their groundwater use. …  
But because the NRD was denied those records from the USDA, Bishop said, the district spent nearly two years at a cost of about $350,000.   ….

For related posting on USDA GIS data access issues, visit the following link:


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