Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind is urging fellow legislators to reinstate the Conservation Stewardship Program when drafting the 2018 Farm Bill.
In a letter to members of the House Agriculture Committee, the La Crosse Democrat said farmers rely on the CSP program to give them the opportunity they need to grow and sustain their operations. The memo was sent in response to the panel’s decision to roll the program’s functions into the Environment Quality Incentives Program.
“The CSP helps preserve over 70 million acres of working farmland and allows farmers to gain firsthand knowledge from experts on how to improve soil, water and air quality on their farms,” Kind said. “Claims that the bill merely rolls the CSP into EQIP is hugely misleading, as these programs serve two very different purposes. It is also clear that many functions of the CSP will be lost.”
Kind further claims that removing of the Stewardship Thresholds from the USDA’s toolbox will ‘harm farmers’ who have been working hard for years to maintain a high level of environmental discipline.
“It is imperative that Congress does not take away the tools that allow our farmers to be at the forefront of land stewardship in the world, the technical guidance and financial help that CSP provides cannot be replaced,” Kind wrote.
During the negotiations of the 2013 Farm Bill, Kind was vocal in his support for updating the bill’s conservation title to reflect the needs of modern agricultural systems, while establishing new set of federal government priorities.
Source: Wisconsin Ag Connection