Agriculture committee leaders have announced that the Farm Bill conference committee will begin opening statements and initial negotiations on Wednesday, October 30. That makes the next few days an important time for American Farmland Trust and our supporters to weigh in with Members of Congress to support our priorities.
Among the major issues to be decided is protection for fragile soils and wetlands known as conservation compliance. American Farmland Trust has fought hard this year to re-link conservation compliance with the federal crop insurance program, and a key challenge in the conference committee will be keeping conservation compliance in the Farm Bill. Compliance was included in the Senate-passed bill and we need it retained in the final Farm Bill.
American Farmland Trust President Andrew McElwaine recently led a forum at the Environmental Law Institute Policy Forum that considered the global context of the Farm Bill and the complex relations among agricultural policy, environmental impacts, and harvest and famine on a global scale.
We are on Capitol Hill telling Members of Congress how critically important it is to support conservation in the final Farm Bill, but we need supporters like you sending letters, too. Visit AFT’s Action Page today to email your Senators and Representative!
USDA Offers Conservation Assistance to South Dakota Ranchers
USDA is offering a special signup through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’ (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help South Dakota producers address the impacts of the Atlas Blizzard. Tens of thousands of livestock have been estimated lost as a result of the storm.
The EQIP signup runs through November 15th, 2013. EQIP assistance will help producers dispose of livestock carcasses, replace destroyed fencing, and rebuild shelterbelts and other conservation practices that were damaged by the storm. USDA will begin providing assistance to producers as soon as this week.
Livestock disaster assistance programs under the Farm Bill would typically be available for livestock losses, but because of the lack of a full Farm Bill reauthorization those programs have currently expired. The Farm Service Agency is encouraging ranchers impacted by the storm to document losses in the event livestock disaster programs are made available.
Additional information is available on the NRCS South Dakota website.