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AgMag BLOG

Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

Ad Campaign fights conservation cuts, somebody call the waaambulance on climate change deniers

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Welcome to EWG’s Policy Plate, where we plan to serve up a daily helping of food and farm news during the 2012 farm bill debate.

Some lawmakers have made clear that they intend to cut 7 million acres protected under the farm bill's Conservation Reserve Program. Congress has cut other critical conservation program every year since 2002. These programs are essential to protect fresh water from toxic farm chemicals, reduce soil erosion, fight climate change and restore wildlife habitat.

To raise awareness about these disastrous conservation cuts, EWG launched today a web-based advertising campaign (www.ewg.org/whatwouldtheysay) aimed at the broad range of Americans who value clean water, healthy soil and robust habitat, The ads will run for about two weeks on the Grist and Field and Stream websites.  They remind Americans that former President Teddy Roosevelt and legendary ecologist Aldo Leopold considered conservation of natural resources among the nation’s highest ideals.

And in related news, NPR reported that North Dakota beekeepers raising colonies crucial for California agriculture will be severely impacted by the loss of conservation acreage in that state.

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Table Scraps:

- Oxfam America’s Ben Grossman-Cohen blogs that “US Food Aid program is immensely important, but right now it is broken, seriously hampered by special interests who lobby Congress to impose regulations that protect their bottom-line at the expense of hungry people and taxpayers. “

- At a time of record-high crop prices, revenue insurance policies are making record payments to farmers, Here’s an example of how these policies are rigged to fleece taxpayers.

- It turns out that everyone, including ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson, was left out of the secret farm bill process. The Hagstrom report (sub req – no link) writes that Peterson tried “to convince Lucas and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., to release the language of the proposal that the leaders of the agriculture committees sent to the supercommittee on deficit reduction, but that they have refused. “Nobody knows what was in there”

- The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition writes about the possibility that “33 million acres of cropland that were enrolled in the direct payment program but not in the conservation programs or the crop insurance program in 2010 would no longer be subject to compliance requirements if the direct payment program was eliminated.”

- The editorial page of the St. Louis Post Dispatch references farm subsidies, defending assistance for the needy. “The very people rising in anger against government aid are, in many cases, the ones who benefit most from it,” the paper says.

- Grist’s Tom Laskaway looks at record corn crops and the pressure they are putting on the environment and the drafting of the next farm bill.

- The Climate Hawks is a new group of hunters and anglers dedicated to fighting climate change. Field and Stream has an interview with one leader who will give his prized shotgun to anyone who can prove climate change isn’t happening.

- Somebody call the waaaaambulance. The climate change deniers at the Heartland Institute were exposed as an oil industry pet yesterday by the release of their own internal documents. Today they are raising money for a legal defense fund to sue journalists and groups who could leak their materials in the future.

Tweet of the day:

@ChrisClaytonDTN - Climate skeptic group upset over leaked documents, disavows authenticity over confusing teachers about science. dld.bz/aRvxr

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