CSP Goes Down, and the Anonymous Quotes Begin

It is official- The House Conservation Subcommittee's mark of the 2007 farm bill Conservation title will not include any money for new Conservation Security Program sign-ups for the next five years. The mark will now be sent to the full House Agriculture Committee, where the next opportunity to find money for this vital program will occur.

The Importance of Imaginary Money

As most of us are aware, the budget outlook for all Congressional committees is tight. For the Agriculture Committee, it is more than tight- it's a lot less than they had last time, as a result of high grain prices. Additionally, both the House and the Senate have committed to "paygo" rules that require them to find offsets for new spending- either by saving (cutting other programs) or revenue increases (i.e. new taxes).

Matched Savings Program Builds Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

The first Individual Development Account program specifically targeted to beginning farmers is currently underway in California. This Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Account uses special matched saving accounts to promote a new generation of farmers and ranchers by assisting those of modest means to establish a pattern of savings. The account proceeds may be used toward capital expenditures for a farm or ranch operation, including expenses associated with the purchases of land, building, equipment, infrastructure, livestock, or toward training.

Conservation Gets the Axe

As many of you may have seen elsewhere, the Conservation Security Program (CSP) was dealt a stunning blow in Collin Peterson's initial draft of the House 2007 farm bill conservation title. Essentially, the Conservation Security Program would be put in the deep freeze, with no money available for new enrollments for the life of the next farm bill- 5 whole years.