Stewardship Stories Document Benefits – For Taxpayers and Farmers
In the coming weeks, Congress must resolve whether to cut funding for voluntary programs that reward farmers and ranchers who take steps to help the environment.
What’s at stake?
Not much. Just the quality of the water you drink and the air you breathe.
Farmers produce a lot more than food and fiber. Well-managed farms can also produce clean water and air, and protect wildlife habitat.
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 a cleaner environment.
Why? Inadequate funding from Congress.
So it makes little sense that both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill propose to cut spending for voluntary conservation programs by $3.5 billion and $4.8 billion, respectively.
There’s no question that conservation funding is an investment that saves taxpayers money – by lowering drinking water treatment costs, reducing flood damages, using water with greater efficiency and by avoiding costly conflicts over rare species.
Many of the conservation success stories catalogued by EWG show that good stewardship pays off for farmers – by increasing the productivity of the land or by reducing costs of fertilizer, pesticides and other measures.
As Congress completes its work on the farm bill, let’s recognize and reward farmers who protect and preserve the land, water and air.