What is in this article?:
- REFRESH bill right on safety net, wrong on conservation
- Shared Responsibility
- “The REFRESH Act introduced by Senator Dick Lugarm, R-Ind., and Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., includes good ideas for the agricultural safety net, but takes conservation policy in the wrong direction,” said Jon Scholl, president of American Farmland Trust (AFT).
Scholl also acknowledges the need for simplification and some consolidation in working lands conservation programs, but says, “Conservation of our natural resources to meet the long-term needs of our nation is a shared responsibility between farmers and the public. Cuts of 40 percent to these programs would put an unfair burden on farmers. Fiscal restraint and consolidation cannot be used to decimate the working lands programs our nation needs to ensure our farmers can feed ourselves and the world in the long run.”
“While we acknowledge that fiscal restraint is in order during these tough budget times, this level of cuts ignores the fundamental production challenges we face in feeding the projected nine billion people, and the related conservation obligations our nation must address,” Scholl adds.
“U.S. farmers manage nearly half the land in this country,” Scholl says. “As the world population and market pressures mount, farmers will be motivated to intensify production on a decreasing land base. Conservation programs can help ensure that increased production does not lead to negative environmental consequences, or the degradation of the agricultural land base.”
“While the REFRESH farm bill proposal contains some very good ideas that we support, the damaging changes to conservation policy outweigh the benefits, so we cannot support the bill at this time,” Scholl concluded.