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(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) In this blog piece, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) takes issue with changes to federal conservation programs under the House Agriculture Committee’s recently released draft farm bill. The legislation would eliminate the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and fold it into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). But, says NSAC, these two programs are separate for a reason: “they each have unique roles to play in enhancing the sustainability of American agriculture. CSP helps farmers and ranchers implement advanced conservation stewardship systems to address priority resource concerns on their land. EQIP, in contrast, is more of an “on-ramp” to working lands conservation, and provides cost-share assistance on a one-time basis to help producers implement specific conservation practices.” And, NSAC adds, the bill eliminates incentives for the most effective conservation activities, while also cutting funding for working lands conservation programs by 25 percent over five years and 20 percent over 10 years. There is room to make improvements to CSP, writes NSAC, but “the wholesale elimination of the nation’s largest conservation program is the opposite of a thoughtful approach. Reforms to CSP should focus on increasing conservation benefits and program accessibility… America’s family farmers and ranchers rely on Congress to deliver a farm bill that gives them the best opportunities to feed their neighbors, earn a decent living, and keep their lands sustainable and healthy – this, sadly, is not that bill.”

Posted April 13th, 2018