Archive for the ‘the Food Bill’ Category

On October 1st, Congress failed to renew the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, thus temporarily ending what is commonly referred to as The Farm Bill. The bill was designed to fund food stamps, farm subsidies, and agricultural and conservation programs. Conservation programs funded through this bill included the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), the Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP), the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). These programs enabled farmers to volunteer to be conservationists on their own property. The bill provided financial and technical assistance to participating farmers who were in turn responsible for protecting environmentally fragile, retired land on their property through drip-irrigation, crop rotation, and other environmentally-friendly farming practices. The bill required specific regulations be met regarding management of wildlife habitats, erosion control, water quality, and more.

The Farm Bill may get renewed in November when Congress reconvenes, but in the meantime the Farm Bill reverts to the 1949 Agricultural Act, the last permanent law covering agricultural policy. While the outdated law is causing serious issues for dairy farmers who won’t receive compensation for losses relating to drought and low production, it will also have an immediate effect on conservation efforts. Because of the FCEA lapse, new farmers can’t sign up for CRPs, EQIPs, or other conservation stewardship programs until the bill is renewed. This may put precarious habitats at risk, increasing the chances of erosion, over-farming, and poor water conservation.







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