New Farm Money For New Methods
Monday, August 10, 2009
GOODHUE, Minn. - Cleaner water, less erosion and increased wildlife habitat are a few of the goals of the federal Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Organizers hope to nearly double the amount of land nationwide that farmers and ranchers currently employ to offset environmentally harmful effects.
Goodhue, Minn., dairy farmer Bill Gorman plans to apply for CSP funds. He says the program is more appealing than previous conservation efforts because it does not require farmers to take land out of production.
"It's going to initiate conservation where we haven't had it before, and it gives everybody across the country a chance to step in and do some good conservation work on working farmland. No land has to be idled in order to participate in the program."
Adam Warthesen, federal policy organizer for the Land Stewardship Project, says the money goes to farmers, but the benefits also extend to rural merchants and businesses and to anyone who appreciates cleaner air and water.
"The payments are attributed to farmers, but you have to produce conservation results. When dollars are going into family farmers' pockets, that means dollars are going into rural communities. It also means fewer problems with erosion and water quality if you have a program that's able to stop those problems upstream."
The program encourages methods such as creating buffers for drainage areas, planting according to natural contours and maintaining systems to carefully manage fertilizers and other soil additives.
Federal officials hope to add 13 million acres nationwide to the 20 million acres of farmland and ranchland now used to help improve adverse environmental impacts.
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