Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Tuesday 10/29/13

Letters on Permanent Law, Conservation Compliance

Tuesday was a day of big letters leading into Wednesday's initial farm bill pow-wow between conferees from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.

Again, with 41 conferees, it's difficult to imagine conferees getting beyond 41 opening statements on Wednesday, but we can all cross our fingers and hope.

As it is, there were at least two letters sent out with more than 250 signatures from groups stating their case. One letter seeks to protect the permanent-law language and recouple nutrition programs to the farm bill. http://dld.bz/…

A second letter of 278 groups --- a mix of conservation, environmental and sustainable-agricultural organizations -- signed on to make another push to re-couple minimum conservation standards to premium subsidies for crop insurance. That group also asked lawmakers to support a national sodsaver provision.

On compliance, the groups said farmers traditionally adopted conservation practices to protect soil and water in exchange for a safety net. Yet, the main safety net is now shifting increasingly to crop insurance, creating a "loophole" in efforts to better protect the land. "Without these key protections, billions of taxpayer dollars spent on crop insurance over coming years will subsidize soil erosion that will choke our waterways, increase the cost of water treatment and dredging, and reduce the long term productivity of farmland. It will also allow for the destruction of tens of thousands of acres of valuable wetlands, resulting in increased downstream flooding, loss of wildlife habitat and decreased water quality."

Along with that, native prairies are now increasingly being converted, or "broken out" into crop production. The groups said 400,000 such acres were converted from 2011 to 2012. The groups advocate for a sodsaver provision that taxpayer subsidies are limited for those lands. They also asked to apply sodsaver nationally.

http://dld.bz/…

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Posted at 7:33PM CDT 10/29/13 by Chris Clayton
Comments (3)
At this point in time, I wish all special interest groups would allow the Food Bill Conferees to do their work. Everything that needs to stated, has been, over and over and over.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:43AM CDT 10/30/13
Bonny; Don;t get careless and let it up to the polititions and the ones that want cheap food at the Farm Gate and no where else. I remember Ike in 1952 after promising not cut the 90% parity farm law (now permanent farm law} but when he became Pres. his advisers promptly helped pass the Sliding scale of Parity which resulted in .85 cent corn and 10 cents per lb hogs and 16cent per cwt. fat cattle .The exodus from the farm started and has not stopped today. Do not trust them ;Call your Sen and Rep. and demand to be part of Farm Bill and not the oil and food retailers.
Posted by melvin meister at 5:50PM CDT 10/30/13
It is just time to get on with it! After a couple of years of this rhetoric from all sides let the committee do their work, whatever the final script. Going nowhere is not an end. I assume, all members have a brain, let them use it for a change.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:05PM CDT 10/30/13
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