As no-tillers attempt to cash in on funds available through the 2002 Farm Bill, many are finding themselves at a disadvantage. Instead of being credited for doing a good job of conserving their soils, they’re being punished for having already seen the many benefits of no-tilling.
We’re not the only ones thinking that veteran no-tillers are being mistreated when it comes to earning Farm Bill dollars. As an example, Dick Wittman, a veteran no-tiller from Culdesac, Idaho, and president of the Pacific Northwest Direct Seeding Association (PNDSA) , says the group has serious concerns about the inconsistency throughout the country regarding the support for no-till.
“Many Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offices have been very progressive about allocating EQIP and PL 565 funds in various watershed areas to fund direct seeding and no-till,” he says. “However, we are seeing an adverse trend building where many other NRCS offices are clamping down on the use of this source of funds. In fact, much of the reduction in support is coming from state levels.”
Wittman says several excuses are typically used by bureaucrats to reduce Farm Bill funding for no-tilling.
1. Funds are short.
2. Since livestock environmental problems are targeted priorities, these projects are so costly that little state funding is left for more sustainable cropping practices.
3. Once a grower has tried no-till, whether directly, through custom hiring or renting of seeding equipment, NRCS feels he or she has adopted the practice. As a result, no further…