The overall goal is to put programs in place for the Chesapeake Bay to recover no later than 2025.
Deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan says that 88 percent of the cropland within the Bay's Watershed is under some form of reduced tillage to limit runoff pollution, and that farmers had a strong conservation ethic.
Still, a report by the department a year ago says the reduced tillage was not enough to sufficiently reduce pollution.
The American Farm Bureau Federation has filed suit over the plan, complaining that it is far too costly for farmers. But Merrigan says the USDA is committed to providing help to farmers and meeting the targets for help in restoring the Chesapeake Bay.