News

Conservation Stewardship Program Improvements Needed

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comments on recent changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The program, the most significant leap in conservation policy in a decade, was designed to reward top-notch conservation already on the ground, as well as incentivize the integration of new and innovative conservation systems that protect and enhance the quality of our soil, water and air.

Apply today: Conference scholarships for humane livestock producers!

We heard this week from Lisa Isenhart of Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT). She told us about their conference scholarship program for humane livestock and poultry producers. FACT will award scholarships for livestock and poultry farmers to attend select sustainable agriculture or humane farming conferences as funding allows in 2015.

Pesticide Use and Depression in Farmers

Organic farming may be as important to the farmers who practice it as to their consumers. Researchers with the National Institute of Health recently completed a landmark, 20-year study of the connection between pesticides and depression in farmers.

According to Dr. Freya Kamel, the study’s lead researcher, scattered reports in the literature about the association between pesticide use and depression led to the desire for further research.

Industrial Poultry and Dairy Operations Slide Under Organic Regulations

Federal organic regulations require that organic poultry and livestock be provided regular access to the outdoors. Dairy cattle and other ruminants must also be provided access to pasture.

Increasingly, massive industrial poultry and dairy facilities are obtaining organic certification. And there’s the rub. It strains all sense of credibility that these industrial confinement operations claim they meet the outdoor and pasture requirements embedded in the nation’s organic laws.

Congress Slashes Conservation

When thinking about the $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last month, one might ask, what does Congress have against conservation?

They made huge cuts to conservation programs, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) that supports conservation practices on cropland, pastureland and rangeland, totaling $402 million over ten years. This cut means 2.3 million fewer acres enrolled in the program.

This anti-conservation spending bill also cut the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) by $136 million for this fiscal year.

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