Friday, January 28, 2022

Play

The Indiana House passes a controversial bill barring schools from teaching about Critical Race Theory; and President Biden pledges to place a Black woman on the Supreme Court for the first time.

Play

Justice Stephen Breyer formally announces his retirement; the Dept. of Education will help students who fell behind during the pandemic; and AZ lawmakers consider a bill granting them control over elections.

Play

Free COVID tests by mail but some rural Americans need to go the extra mile; farmer storytellers join national campaign to battle corporate consolidation; specialty nurses want more authority; and rare bat gets credit for the mythic margarita.

Farm Bill Expiration Stalls Conservation Efforts on Farms

Play

Monday, October 8, 2018   

SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas — While Senators were moving forward with the confirmation of the next Supreme Court justice, what wasn't moving on Capitol Hill was the Farm Bill that expired a week ago.

While the legislation largely stalled over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the people who grow the food and livestock that feed us all also were impacted. One of them is Texas Rancher Karl Ebel, owner of Ebel Grasslands Ranch. He has used conservation funds to improve irrigation efficiency on his land.

"If the Farm Bill conservation funds are pulled back, guys that are trying to embrace new conservation ideas and methods, they need a push or incentive to try those methods,” Ebel said.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, Texas farmers received $116 million in conservation funding in 2016 alone, and $3.5 billion over the last 10 years. Until Congress reaches an agreement on the Farm Bill, conservation programs will be in limbo, with many already having received the funding for projects, but not having the authority to move forward.

Conservationists are urging Congress to keep funding levels strong and maintain wildlife protections for endangered species. Aviva Glaser, director of agriculture policy with the National Wildlife Federation, said these types of conservation programs help keep farms and ranches in private hands, while protecting wildlife habitat and water quality for future generations.

"It could be a lot harder to get into conservation programs if there's less funding available,” Glaser said. “So you're not able to make as much progress, you're not able to recruit new farmers and ranchers to programs if you have less funding, so it would be very problematic."

Ebel said the momentum lost while a compromise is sought is hard at a time when the agricultural industry is close to embracing conservation and reaping the rewards.

"It's a long-term type view of your land. Conservation is something that producers, but also farmers, are just now trying to take a look at,” Ebel said. “They're starting to understand that that can make a positive impact on their bottom line."

There's no word on when Congress may take up the Farm Bill, but it's not expected to be taken up again until after the midterms in the lame-duck session of Congress. Negotiators have had trouble coming to agreement up to this point.


get more stories like this via email

Solar energy would have been used to replace carbon-based power sources under Arizona's proposed clean-energy plan. (andreiorlov/Adobe Stock)

Environment

Frustrated environmental and clean-energy advocates say after four long years of debate and compromise, regulators sent Arizona back to the starting …


Social Issues

When North Dakotans head out to cast their ballots later this year, there is a chance some will do so in a voting center and not a designated …

Social Issues

South Dakota continues to grapple with its low ranking when it comes to paying schoolteachers, but the issue is getting focus in 2022, including a …


Older Washingtonians take more prescription drugs on average and so are disproportionately affected by rising drug costs. (kmiragaya/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Washington state lawmakers are considering a measure to limit the growing cost of prescription drugs. Senate Bill 5532 would establish a …

Environment

The Maryland Air National Guard is considering a proposal to establish airspace where military planes would fly as low as 100 feet over the Pennsylvan…

The new grants are via the 2019 Rebuild Illinois capital program, which also calls for $25 billion to repair roads and bridges. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

The state of Illinois is allocating nearly a quarter-billion dollars to support new downstate transit and ports projects. Roughly half will go …

Health and Wellness

Advocates and faith groups are calling for more investments in harm reduction across the state, as new provisional data shows overdose deaths have …

Social Issues

Farmers and ranchers in Montana and across the nation are calling on Congress to pass the American Beef Labeling Act. Most food is required to have …

 

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