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A Closer Look at Conservation Title

Monday, April 23, 2012

The imbalanced 900-page farm bill released by the Senate agriculture committee needlessly sacrifices conservation program funding to finance unlimited insurance subsidies and a new entitlement program for the largest and most profitable agribusinesses.

For example, the bill would cut 7 million acres from the Conservation Reserve Program, which pays farmers to keep highly erodible land out of production. It would also reduce enrollment by 20 percent in the Conservation Stewardship Program, which protects millions of acres of topsoil from erosion and natural resources from pollution runoff.

These deep conservation cuts coupled with high commodity prices and inadequate compliance requirements will create powerful incentives to plow up fragile wetlands and grasslands and erase many of the environmental gains made by agriculture in the last three decades.

Table Scraps:

Dan Charles of National Public Radio reports on Dr. Bruce Babcock’s recent paper on crop insurance and why providing a free policy to farmers would be less expensive than the current system.

New York Times’ Ron Nixon has more on the Senate agriculture committee’s proposal and what conservation and farm groups had to say about it.

And in CQ Roll Call Outlook, reporter Phil Brasher examines the public benefits of another conservation program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. It provides assistance to farmers for improving water and air quality and preserving wildlife habitat.

Tweet of the Day:

Ben Grossman-Cohen @BenGroCo If you're watching The Daily Show tonight at 11:15 you might just see @oxfamamerica's #foodaid #farmbill ad:

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