skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Electric bus movement looks to accelerate; Macron says he has not ruled out using Western troop to help Ukraine stand-up to Russia; two rural Iowa newspapers saved from extinction; BLM announces added protections for sensitive Oregon landscape.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Speaker Johnson commits to avoiding a government shutdown. Republican Senators call for a trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. And a Democratic Senator aims to ensure protection for IVF nationwide.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

David meets Goliath in Idaho pesticide conflict, to win over Gen Z voters, candidates are encouraged to support renewable energy and rural America needs help from Congress to continue affordable internet programs.

BBB Includes Funding Boost for Farm Conservation Programs

play audio
Play

Thursday, December 2, 2021   

GREENE, Iowa -- The proposed Build Back Better bill is getting attention for a host of funding possibilities, including one area flying under the radar: sustainable agriculture.

Programs to reimburse farmers for adopting environmentally friendly practices could see benefits. The Biden administration's proposed public spending package includes $13 billion for the Working Lands Program, which provide financial and technical assistance to help farmers reach their conservation goals.

Kalee Olson, policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs, describes the programs as underfunded and oversubscribed. She pointed out it creates tough choices for producers waiting for reimbursement approval.

"For some farmers, it can be a gamble on whether they want to go ahead and, say, plant cover crops, and hope they'll be accepted into the program and be partially reimbursed," Olson explained.

Supporters of the programs say more waiting periods or lack of funds might scare off future applicants who don't want to take on the risk. Despite some gains over the past decade, only a small percentage of Iowa farmland is planted with cover crops.

The Biden plan has won House approval, but faces obstacles in the Senate, with some members saying it is too broad in scope and too expensive.

Mike Ruby, a farmer in Greene in the northern part of the state, has been planting cover crops for about 15 years. He said he has never had issues in applying for cost-sharing aid through the Conservation Stewardship Program, but feels a funding boost could attract other farmers who are not ready to take the leap.

"I think it would be definitely beneficial for the ones that haven't been trying to entice them to giving it a try," Ruby contended.

According to the annual Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey, farmers who are reluctant to plant cover crops cite reasons such as costs, as well as not having enough time. But longstanding program enrollees say these practices can help improve soil health, which eventually improves a farmer's bottom line over time.

Disclosure: Center for Rural Affairs contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Environment, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, and Rural/Farming Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
A new report from California Competes outlined four main areas of action for colleges to take to reengage, reenroll, and propel comebacker students to completion. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Social Issues

play sound

More than 6 million Californians stopped out of college before getting a degree and a new report has laid out a plan to bring them back on campus…


Social Issues

play sound

North Carolina's public school system is facing a crisis, according to the recently released "Public Schooling in America 2024" report. It ranks the …

Social Issues

play sound

In the 2023 legislative season, 25 states introduced legislation related to artificial intelligence and more than a dozen states enacted AI …


Colorado's I Matter program provides adolescents in crisis access to six free mental-health counseling sessions, with referrals for further help if it is necessary. (Pexels)

Health and Wellness

play sound

Advocates say Colorado legislative leaders are working to make the state a leader in addressing the youth mental health crisis. At least nine bills …

Social Issues

play sound

A coalition of organizations in Georgia is joining forces to combat the rising rate of suicide among children and teenagers. According to national …

States including California and Illinois have passed mental health legislation similar to what Michigan is now considering, without seeing increases to insurance premiums. (Drazen/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

A House bill aimed at increasing access to mental health care in Michigan could go to a vote on the House floor at any time. Rep. Felicia Brabec…

Social Issues

play sound

Rep. Ben Toma, R-Peoria, Speaker of the Arizona House, has introduced legislation with hopes to curtail illegal immigration and save Arizonans big in …

play sound

Most school and transit buses on the nation's roadways these days are still powered by diesel engines but in Wisconsin and elsewhere, there is hope …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021