There has long been bipartisan support for conservation compliance by farmers and politicians alike. Now more than ever, those leading the way in reauthorizing the farm bill may hear a growing number of prominent Republicans voicing their support to relink to crop insurance the vital conservation compact between taxpayers and farmers.
Dust storms have re-emerged across much of Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas, fueled by the same combination of persistent drought, plowing up fragile land and poor public policy that led to the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.
Every day, thousands of farmers take steps to reduce polluted runoff and restore wetlands and grasslands. Many more would help, but 40 percent of farmers have been turned away by the U.S. Department of Agriculture when they offer to share the cost of cleaner environment.
During the first meeting of farm bill conferees last week, seven U.S. senators, including three former Agriculture Committee chairs, called for conservation compliance, a measure that would require those receiving federal crop insurance support to implement basic conservation practices.
Seven U.S. senators last week called for re-linking the federal crop insurance program to conservation compliance during a House-Senate conference committee meeting on the 2013 farm bill. The ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee also endorsed the linkage.
EWG’s Mary Ellen Kustin writes on the unbalanced distribution of federally subsidized crop insurance dollars, highlighting the 26 subsidy recipients who each received over $1 million in crop insurance premium support.
Hundreds of millions of conservation dollars in the federal farm bill should be used more effectively to address widespread water pollution problems in California, concludes a new report by Environmental Working Group.
An interactive map developed by the Environmental Working Group shows where more than 660 U.S. newspapers have published editorials since 2007 demanding meaningful reform of the federal farm bill.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) recently spoke out against the provision that would link crop insurance and basic conservation practices, known as “conservation compliance”, claiming it would be “misguided and redundant” because of similar requirements for producers participating in other USDA programs.
Even if the government miraculously opens for business tomorrow, several critically important USDA conservation and nutrition programs will be shuttered.
A study released by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) demonstrates the alarming rate at which non-cropland was converted to cropland between 2011 and 2012. The study echoes findings from EWG’s Going, Going, Gone! and Plowed Under reports.
EWG’s Soren Rundquist blogs on the newly released report, Going, Going, Gone!