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.

Instead, CSP dollars would be transferred to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which is notorious for funding the construction of large scale livestock confinement facilities. EQIP also has an outrageously high $450,000 cap on individual projects- virtually guaranteeing the vast majority of budgeted dollars will flow to large animal operations.

Perhaps even more shocking, stealing all of CSP's money did not satisfy the minds behind this perfidy. Even though the proposal essentially puts CSP out of business, whoever authored this junk went ahead and rewrote the legislative language governing CSP, weakening conservation standards and environmental focus. So even if they do find money for CSP at the end of the day, it would be a far weaker program than it is right now. Pitiful.

As of today, the House subcommittee vote on this proposal is scheduled for tomorrow morning. I'm sure everyone is salivating at the opportunity to let their representatives know how wrong-headed and harmful this proposal is. The Center for Rural Affairs is specifically targeting six members of the House subcommittee that cast decisive votes tomorrow:

Stephanie Herseth (SD)
Zachary Space (OH-18)
John T. Salazar, CO (CO-3)
Nancy Boyda, KS (KS-2)
Steve Kagen, WI (WI-8)

Steve King, IA (IA-5)
Jeff Fortenberry, NE (NE-1)

You can find the contact information on our website, right here.

And even if you don't live in those select areas, you can still make your voice heard. The Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has an action alert with phone numbers for all of the subcommittee members right here (PDF file). Thanks in advance for your help, and I'll be sure to update everyone on how it turns out.

UPDATE: Aimee Witteman of the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has a longer post on this issue here. More context, and I suspect better written as well.


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