Farm Policy News

President’s budget proposals would hurt rural America

Details on President Trump’s 2021 budget plan were released recently and, as it has in the past, this administration continues to put forth proposals that undercut rural communities.

Among the proposed cuts we strongly oppose are those to the Conservation Stewardship Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and authorized by the farm bill. This program offers invaluable support for farmers and ranchers to build on their existing conservation efforts and the cuts would block an important path they rely on to improve their soil health and water quality.

Conservation enrollment open

For farmers and ranchers interested in expanding conservation on their operations, two of the nation’s largest working lands programs—the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)—are open for applications. 

CSP and EQIP offer financial assistance to implement conservation practices, with EQIP offering support for individual practices and CSP providing support for a planned set of practices. CSP participants are required to demonstrate existing conservation efforts to enroll, while EQIP participants are not.

Grant funding available for producers looking to diversify their operations 

Agricultural producers interested in diversifying and taking on a new element to their operation are encouraged to apply for a Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA Rural Development has $37 million in grant funding available for this program in 2020. Individuals and groups of producers can apply for grants up to $75,000 for planning, and $250,000 for implementation and working capital.

Weigh in on changes to Environmental Quality Incentives Program

As it works to implement changes to the 2018 farm bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to accept public comments on its rule addressing the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

EQIP is one of the nation’s largest conservation programs. As of 2018, 13.7 million acres were covered under active and completed EQIP contracts. EQIP helps producers implement conservation practices on their operations that preserve soil, water, and other natural resources.

South Dakota Legislative Update-Jan. 28

Today is Day 10 of South Dakota’s Legislative Session. Our state’s session is short and moves quickly. This year there are 37 Legislative Days (LD) and all bills need to be introduced by Feb. 7 (LD 16) and pass both houses by March 9 (LD 33). The last day for gubernatorial vetoes is March 30 (LD. 37). 

Right now new bills are being introduced daily and we anticipate our bill watch list growing. Below are a few bills we are currently monitoring.

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