Farm Bill discussions are turning to conservation programs and how they impact producers

As Farm Bill discussions ramp up across the country, groups are weighing in on their priorities. The House Ag Committee met to discuss Title 2 conservation programs and the roles they play for farmers.

According to Rep. Abigail Spanberger, “American farmers and producers have a long history of being among the best stewards of our land and promoting conservation practices as a way of protecting our environment for generations to come. As part of today’s hearing, we will hear how our conservation programs are currently working for producers. How investments in conservation programs are addressing our resource needs and how these programs can be utilized to help address the climate crisis.”

“Conservation Districts are local units of government that coordinate with many partners at all levels to help millions of cooperating landowners and operators implement conservation practices. USDA conservation programs have helped producers and private landowners across the country reduce soil erosion, enhance water quality, air quality, reduce carbon emissions and so much more on millions of acres,” Michael Crowder, the President National Association of Conservation Districts, explains. “With rising costs of labor and inputs, we need to ensure that producers are compensated fairly and that the payment rates reflect the real-time cost of implementing practices. We also identified a need to simplify conservation programs and make their application process as simple and as clear as possible.”

“Conservation farming helps us maintain soil moisture and efficiently use of natural resources. EQUIP has helped us put in a fertilizer tank containment system and install irrigation water management equipment on our irrigated farmland. We utilize CRP on our dryland acres to create contours in the field protecting the soils from wind erosion, the cost of farming has increased and it will continue to do so. While commodity prices have decreased recently, input costs remain high with farmers facing higher costs in all areas of their operation and the decision to adopt conservation practices can depend on financial assistance of the Farm Bill. Wheat growers, the environment, and society have benefited from these programs through improved water quality and quantity, air quality, soil health, and habitat. These would not be possible without the financial and technical assistance that the Farm Bill conservation programs provide,” National Association of Wheat Growers President, Nicole Berg adds.