Farm Policy and Conservation Focus of Iowa Trip

I’m writing this after having just returned home from Iowa. While we were there, my colleague John Crabtree and I met with farmer Craig Lang and later with The Des Moines Register’s Randy Evans.

The farmers I work with through my role at the Center for Rural Affairs inspire me. Craig gave us a tour of their farm and the conservation practices they are using to build healthy soil, prevent erosion, and protect water quality.

For example, they leave headlands in permanent cover, rotate alfalfa, and maintain pasture land. Most importantly, Craig also integrates cover crops across the entire farm to prevent erosion and build soil health.

Meeting with Craig, and so many other farmers over my tenure here, encourages me to do all I can to continue building strong and unwavering support for strengthening investment in the conservation toolbox. Federal policy has improved, and we have seen increased attention to conservation. But more can be done.

Every year when Congress debates appropriations, threats are posed to conservation funding. When the 2014 Farm Bill passed, certain members of Congress decided they would rather continue to throw money at the largest and wealthiest farms through unlimited farm program subsidies than to make stronger investments in conservation.

During our meeting with Randy Evans of The Des Moines Register, my colleague John Crabtree made a very clear argument on how the administration has the authority to begin to turn this around.

He said, “The administration said they’re going to move policy forward despite Congress being incapable of taking meaningful action. We applaud them for moving a new carbon rule forward, and moving the Waters of the U.S. rule forward. If they can do these things, then they can by God write a meaningful actively engaged rule for farm programs that protects family farmers and reins in unlimited subsidies.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Add your signature to our petition calling on the administration to act on the actively engaged rule.