Kansas lawmakers: Farmers are counting on you to preserve conservation in the farm bill

By Gene Albers, published in the High Plains Journal on Nov. 5, 2018

In February 2018, after the presidential budget was released, I wrote a piece highlighting the importance of conservation and the Conservation Stewardship Program. I made note that the presidential budget included cuts to conservation programs, and cited my growing concern that stewardship of our natural resources would be left behind with these damaging actions.

My fear that members of the Kansas Congressional delegation would heed suggestions from the presidential budget risks becoming reality. The House has proposed to eliminate the Conservation Stewardship Program in the final farm bill. However, Sen. Pat Roberts has thus far held firm in leading preservation of CSP and other conservation programs in the farm bill. As the House and Senate debate a final farm bill and vastly different approaches to conservation programs, I hope they remember that farmers are counting on them.

As a producer who values land stewardship, I have seen the benefits of the Conservation Stewardship Program firsthand. The program has allowed me to grow cover crops, something that I probably never would have been able to afford otherwise.

It’s my hope that a final farm bill includes the Senate’s farm bill proposals for conservation programs, because maintaining the integrity of the Conservation Stewardship Program helps farmers like me protect our natural resources.

Congressional leaders are still negotiating a final farm bill. The Conservation Stewardship Program is important to farmers and ranchers in Kansas, and we’re counting on Sen. Roberts to protect this program.

Gene Albers farms and ranches in Kingman County. He formerly served as a board member of the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts and the Kingman County Conservation District. He currently serves as chair of the South-Central Kansas Residue Alliance. | Photo by Rhea Landholm