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Policy Plate BLOG

Your daily serving of food and farm policy.

Why We Need Compliance

Thursday, October 17, 2013

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. 

EWG’s Mary Ellen Kustin explains why this is not true:

One of the programs Lucas is referring to is the discredited “direct payments” program. While this wasteful program distributes payments to landowners whether or not they actually farm the land (or even live anywhere near a farm), it does at least require good stewardship of soil and water in order to receive the payments…

What Lucas didn’t say is that the farm bill he wants to pass would replace direct payments with a pumped-up crop insurance program. Failing to relink the long-standing conservation quid pro quo to insurance premium subsidies will gut conservation compliance. The far less generous “commodity, conservation and credit programs” cited by Rep. Lucas simply won’t create enough incentives to keep soil and wetlands protected once direct payments are gone.

The pending Senate version of the farm bill includes a provision to relink conservation compliance with crop insurance subsidies. Chairman Lucas’s competing House version does not.

Read more on AgMag.

Table Scraps:

Politico and E&E News both report on the upcoming House-Senate farm bill conference and where conferees will focus their attention.

Tweet of the Day: @AEI The ethanol mandate has more than doubled the price of corn but done little or nothing for the environment: http://ow.ly/pUdRn  #FarmBill

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