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ASWM is keeping an eye on the development of the 2012 Farm Bill. On this page you can find updates on the Farm Bill as well as agricultural news in the context of wetlands and related issues. For Farm Bill 2012 resources on the web, click here.

Big Ag Agrees to Conserve Cropland, But At What Cost?
Monday, 13 May 2013 15:44

By Allison Aubrey – NPR Blog – May 9, 2013

Taxpayers help subsidize crop insurance premiums for farmers to the tune of about $9 billion dollars, a figure that's growing each year. These policies protect farmers from major losses, and help support their income even if there's no loss of crops. And in return? Well, environmentalists argue that farmers who receive this financial support should be required to be good stewards of the land. In fact, for years, conservation groups have fought to attach some strings to these subsidies to require farmers to take steps aimed at protecting soil and wetlands. For full blog post, click here.

Ag groups give mixed reviews of Senate farm bill draft
Monday, 13 May 2013 15:43

By Derrick Cain – Agri Pulse – May 9, 2013

The release of a draft farm bill from the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee today sparked several comments - mostly, but not all, positive - from agriculture-related groups. Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), said his organization was encouraged that the draft included target price protection. “However, in order to be substantial, target prices need to be increased and balanced in a meaningful way,” Johnson said. “We urge the inclusion of stronger protection against long-term price collapse for all commodities in all regions. It is also promising that some important programs left out of the one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill, like the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, have been reauthorized and funded.” Johnson said crop insurance remains a necessary part of farmers’ safety net, and was pleased that a compromise was reached to link conservation compliance requirements to crop insurance. For full story, click here.

Conservation Groups Send Farm Bill Proposal to the Hill
Monday, 06 May 2013 15:01

AGree – May 1, 2013

"Fifty-six conservation groups yesterday sent a farm bill proposal to Capitol Hill that seeks to stem agriculture's effects on wildlife habitat and water quality. The ambitious plan includes streamlining the bill's 23 conservation programs, attaching stewardship requirements to traditional farmer subsidies and expanding incentives to enroll beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers in conservation programs. It would also undo sequestration's roughly $2.5 billion cut to rural conservation mandatory funding. The package of reforms is necessary given the increasing volatility in weather and high commodity crop prices that are pushing farmers to eke as much production out of agricultural land as possible, the groups said. "In the face of severe erosion, water depletion, mounting energy prices and one of the worst droughts in decades, we need a bigger, not smaller, investment in farm conservation to protect the land that is our long-term food security," the organizations told congressional offices. The conservation groups say the plan will serve as the baseline from which they will judge the farm bills that the House and Senate Agriculture committees plan to release this month. Defenders of Wildlife, the Environmental Working Group, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the National Wildlife Federation and the World Wildlife Fund are among the groups backing the proposal." For full story, click here. To view report, click here.

View from the Levee: Farm-Bill Sausage

By Alan Buebert – Daily Yonker
– March 11, 2013

Forget what you’ve heard: It’s now perfectly safe to watch sausage and legislation being made. After all, better enforcement of better rules by today’s better-funded U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service ensures (probably) that (mostly) sausage-makings go into sausage. Clearer rules and more money have changed the legislation-making game, too. For full story, click here.

Crop Insurance and Conservation Compliance

University of Tennessee – Cattle Network 
– March 11, 2013 

The unwillingness of the House leadership to bring a Farm Bill that had been adopted by the House Ag Committee to the floor for a vote in 2012 resulted in a 9-month extension of the 2008 Farm Bill during the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. The resulting bill ignored the work of both the Ag committees and continued the Direct Payment Program while leaving some other programs unfunded. In eliminating the Direct Payment Program, the Senate bill reattached conservation compliance to the crop/revenue insurance program that was subsidized by the Federal Government. The House bill, on the other hand, did not require conservation compliance for participation in the subsidized insurance program. For full story, click here.

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