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PNS Daily Newscast - December 14, 2018 


The Senate votes to withdraw funding for the Saudi war in Yemen. Also on the Friday rundown: the Global Climate Conference reinforces the need for grassroots movements; and could this be the most wasteful time of year?

Daily Newscasts

Farmers, Conservation Groups Rally Congress to Pass Farm Bill

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency oversees voluntary programs to help promote conservation practices on farms and ranches. (Pixabay)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency oversees voluntary programs to help promote conservation practices on farms and ranches. (Pixabay)
October 3, 2018

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia farmers and conservation groups are warning that some of the nation's most critical resources are at stake as Congress puts off passing a new Farm Bill.

The groups credit programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program for helping clean up Chesapeake Bay.

Cattle farmer Scott Miller said CREP paid farmers like him rent for removing environmentally sensitive land from farm production, and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program shared the cost of conservation practices on his farmland.

"If you look, the bay has gotten cleaner due to the CREP program, and it didn't really do much for us," he said, "and it wasn't until the EQIP that really changed everything for me."

While programs such as crop insurance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will continue operating, the Farm Bill's conservation programs are stalled until negotiators come to agreement for a vote, expected in November or December.

The bill's expiration was blamed on discrepancies between the House and Senate, particularly over a House provision to attach work requirements for people who need food assistance.

Kyle Hart, policy and campaigns associate for the Virginia Conservation Network, said he hopes lawmakers will agree to support the Chesapeake Bay Enhancement Act, sponsored by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. That act would increase funding to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

"The best way to ensure that more money is flowing particularly into the Chesapeake Bay region and Chesapeake Bay watershed," he said, "is to ensure that farmers in our watershed are getting the funding that they need to practice good land conservation and water quality practices on their farms."

Hart said the progress in improving the bay's health could be lost without continued support. The Trump administration had proposed cutting funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup from $73 million to $7.3 million.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - VA