January 19, 2020

Budget; Climate Issues; Biofuels; and the Ag Economy


An article posted yesterday at Agriculture Online stated that, “Fifteen conservation groups oppose cutting more than $2 billion dollars from the largest of USDA’s working lands conservation programs, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), to pay for a child nutrition reauthorization bill drafted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill and vote on it Wednesday.

“‘This current proposal would not only rob farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners of conservation and environmental stewardship assistance in the next decade, but would take away well over $2 billion from the farm bill conservation baseline, or nearly half of the widely-lauded conservation increase in the 2008 Farm Bill,’ the groups says in a letter addressed to Lincoln and the other Senate Agriculture Committee members. ‘This cut clearly violates the carefully negotiated compromise that you supported in the 2008 Farm Bill.’

“‘We understand and appreciate the critical need to provide additional funding for the child nutrition school meal programs,’ the letter adds. ‘There are other sources for this funding outside of the Farm Bill conservation programs that could be tapped to pay for these needs without taking away from the programs that support farmers and forest landowners in their efforts to provide conservation benefits in addition to food, forest products, and fiber. However, if Farm Bill resources are determined to be the only resort, then fairness demands that the conservation title should not bear the full burden of providing the solution.’”