Kind of, maybe.
Legislation supporting agriculture and conservation is easy to “put wheels on,” but often lacks horsepower, traction and fuel. That may currently be the case with the 2018 Farm Bill. And as Congress faces major federal revenue shortfalls, “show me the money” will still be the real bottom line…
One of the latest pieces of bipartisan Senate action is the Give our Resources the Opportunity to Work Act (S.B. 2557). The GROW Act, introduced by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Bob Casey Jr., D-Penn, would maintain funding and acreage levels for the 2018 Farm Bill’s three largest conservation programs: The Conservation Stewardship Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Reserve Program.
A similar bill, Strengthening Our Investment in Land Stewardship Act of 2018 (H.R. 5188), was also introduced in the House by Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn. The bills would incentivize cover crops under CSP, increase set-aside funds for conservation buffers within continuous CRP, and maintain EQIP water quality emphasis. Provisions that actually make it into the farm bill are anyone’s guess at this point.
As far as what Pr*sident Trump’s vile minions want to do, it’s horrible.
For a while now, federal farm policy has been all about encouraging, to say the least, overproduction of a handful of “staples,” especially animal feed, sugar, and milk. This guarantees low prices and therefore large profits for Big Processing, as it in turn encourages, again to say the least, the questionable dining habits of a large majority of Americans – including, I readily admit, myself. Meanwhile, if actual farmers are being driven to the edge by overwork and scant returns, well, tough. Sadly, there is little chance that any of that will change meaningfully with the new bill, whatever the specifics and whenever it does happen.