Farm and environmental groups that often disagree on ag policy are urging the Agriculture Department to prioritize climate change in conservation programs and to consider changes to crop insurance that would promote the use of cover crops and other carbon-conserving practices.
PepsiCo is giving a big boost to efforts by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action to reduce greenhouse gases in agriculture, donating $5 million to a year-old partnership now rebranded as AgMission.
It’s now up to the Senate. The House on Friday voted 246-175 to block the newly enacted $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package from triggering deep cuts in government programs. The cuts become automatic if Congress doesn’t waive PAYGO requirements under a 2011 budget law that was intended to limit deficit spending.
The Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to roll out $13 million in funding to help producers on private working lands better conserve water resources in coordination with investments made by water suppliers.
It’s all but certain at this point that Congress won’t pass a big new stimulus bill before the election. But a deal in the lame duck session remains a possibility. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday suggested she opposes waiting until next year when Democrats could have control of the White House and the Senate.
The centerpiece of Joe Biden’s plan to help farmers address climate change is a “dramatic” expansion of the Conservation Stewardship Program, but he’ll quickly find skeptics on Capitol Hill and among environmental groups if he gets elected and tries to carry out the proposal.
Countless deteriorating dams on rivers and old farm ponds out in the pastures are in escalating need of rebuilding before disaster strikes again. Some federal help is available for reservoir owners ready for the task.
Understaffed for years, the Natural Resources Conservation Service is making a push to hire more than 1,000 employees so farmers can be assured of receiving technical assistance on conservation practices.