Letter: Klobuchar has sound Farm Bill prioritiesSen. Amy Klobuchar’s column regarding the Farm Bill and the importance of farming to Minnesota’s economy is spot on.
By: Tim Kizer, Private Lands Field Representative, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Fayetteville, Ark., Worthington Daily Globe
Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s column regarding the Farm Bill and the importance of farming to Minnesota’s economy is spot on. The positive contribution of the agricultural sector is critical to the overall economic health of this country’s present and future.
Equally important is connecting two of the priorities outlined in the senator’s column regarding her upcoming work to rewrite the Farm Bill: Conserving our Natural Resources and the Farm Safety Net.
Improving water quality and aiding in the fight against soil erosion and flooding is the principal function of farm conservation practices. A fantastic by-product of farm conservation is the creation and protection of critical habitat for fish and wildlife — ducks, pheasant, deer and fish that not only sustain a healthy environment but also have significant economic impact on rural farm communities and the nation at large.
Crop insurance, albeit unintentionally, could be serving to incentivize the conversion of marginal acres into cropland. Without applying reasonable conservation compliance measures to federal crop insurance programs, taxpayer funds could be used to convert marginal lands important to clean water, flood control and critical wildlife habitat.
American farmers are by and large good stewards of their land. However, crop insurance represents a significant financial investment by American taxpayers and we deserve a guarantee that acres critical to conservation are maintained.
Coupling crop insurance and conservation compliance in the upcoming Farm Bill makes good sense for farmers, good sense for the environment and good sense for all of America.