LYONS, NEBRASKA— The Center for Rural Affairs is offering a robust slate of recommendations for programs covered under the 2018 farm bill as part of a white paper released today.
“Conservation for Rural Communities: Center for Rural Affairs Farm Bill Implementation Recommendations,” authored by Anna Johnson, policy manager for the Center for Rural Affairs, addresses possible changes to the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
“The 2018 farm bill created a variety of new provisions within these programs, requiring updates and creating opportunities to strengthen the programs,” Johnson said. “There are several opportunities to improve economic outcomes and stewardship opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.”
The recommendations include increasing service to organic producers, providing strong support for grazing management practices under EQIP, higher CSP payments for advanced conservation, and holding sign-ups for conservation programs before planting season.
Early in its history, the Center for Rural Affairs recognized that well-managed, diversified farming operations are key to rural community vitality.
Since 1973, the Center has advocated for conservation as a valuable tool for farmers and ranchers to establish and grow their operations, focusing on working lands conservation programs that allow them to maintain production on their land, while implementing practices that benefit natural resources, according the white paper.
“Farmers and ranchers need strong conservation programs now more than ever,” Johnson said. “We urge USDA to take these recommendations into consideration as they roll out programmatic changes following the 2018 farm bill.”