skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, April 19, 2024

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

Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

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
The Bureau of Land Management's newly issued Public Lands Rule is designed to safeguard cultural resources such as New Mexico's Chaco Culture National Park. (Photo courtesy SallyPaez)

Environment

play sound

Balancing the needs of the many with those who have traditionally reaped benefits from public lands is behind a new rule issued Thursday by the Bureau…


Health and Wellness

play sound

Alzheimer's disease is the eighth-leading cause of death in Pennsylvania. A documentary on the topic debuts Saturday in Pittsburgh. "Remember Me: …

Social Issues

play sound

April is Financial Literacy Month, when the focus is on learning smart money habits but also how to protect yourself from fraud. One problem on the …


Outdoor recreation added $11.7 million to the Arizona economy in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Arizona conservation groups and sportsmen alike say they're pleased the Bureau of Land Management will now recognize conservation as an integral part …

play sound

Across the U.S., most political boundaries tied to the 2020 Census have been in place for a while, but a national project on map fairness for …

The 2023 Annie E. Casey Foundation Data Book ranked Arkansas 37th in the nation for education, and said 56% of young children were not in preschool programs to help get them ready for school. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The need for child care and early learning is critical, especially in rural Arkansas. One nonprofit is working to fill those gaps by giving providers …

Social Issues

play sound

A new Gallup and Lumina Foundation poll unveils a concerning reality: Hoosiers may lack clarity about the true cost of higher education. The survey …

Environment

play sound

As state budget negotiations continue, groups fighting climate change are asking California lawmakers to cut subsidies for oil and gas companies …

 

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