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Senate conservation hearing
Today was the day the Senate Ag Committee held its hearing on conservation provisions of the evolving 2012 farm bill. The general sentiment of the witnesses and members of the committee was that conservation programs work to protect the environment, and that farmers like them. Fears of another round of funding cuts were evident, however. One notable omission in the discussion was any talk of the conservation compact between farmers and taxpayers, which has gotten so much recent attention.
Also today, heavy hitters in the environmental community joined EWG in a letter to the leaders of the agriculture committees in both chambers urging them to “strengthen USDA Conservation Programs.”
- Today’s hearing triggered discussion of conservation in several other places. The Huffington Post’s Lynne Peeples takes a look at conservation program’s potential. And Bill Berry writes in the Madison Capitol Journal that, “Billions of dollars are paid to farmers who are supposed to comply with conservation requirements to reduce erosion, but the government has been incredibly lax on checking whether conservation plans have been adopted for the most highly erodible acres farmed.”
- Tomorrow USDA will unveil its “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” digital compass.” Obamafoodorama has the scoop.
- Bloomberg reports that crop insurance payouts topped $10 billion in 2011.
- Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), quoted in the Evansville Courier Press: “Farm-bill politics have long frustrated reform efforts by myself and others.”
- Brownfield Ag News has an interview with yours truly on the 2012 farm bill.
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