U.S. Senate Ag Panel Considers Conservation At Second Farm Bill Hearing

Family farmers joined program administrators and others yesterday in telling the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee that if you want to do some environmental good and help ensure a reliable food supply, make sure federal conservation programs are well-funded under Farm Bill 2012.

California rangeland in the Conservation Stewardship Program

Conservation was the focus of the ag panel’s second farm bill hearing on Tuesday, February 28.  Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White told the senators there is continued high demand for conservation programs despite rising crop prices that seem destined to move some conservation lands back into production.

According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), White singled out the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) as a particularly popular option among farmers.  “I have been stunned by the demand for this program,” said White. “We have to turn millions of acres away this year. CSP is where the cutting edge in conservation will become the mainstream.  It is the only way we will be able to sustain the land in order to feed 9 billion people.”

Minnesota farmer Darrel Mosel told the committee that the CSP “is a program that allows farmers to farm and at the same time enhance the conservation performance and environmental outcomes of their operation.  I believe that CSP is a shining example of what’s right in farm policy.”

The NSAC staff members attended yesterday’s hearing and provided a full report on the proceedings including additional commentary from family farmers making use of conservation programs to enhance production and preserve environmental quality.

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