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Figuring Out Farm Bill Fundamentals

Four no-tillers faced the daunting task of breaking down the Farm Bill at the recent National No-Tillage Conference.

Armed with a lot of words like “possibly,” “guesswork” and “unsure,” four no-tillers bravely took the stage at the recent National No-Tillage Conference to explain what could be coming in this year’s Farm Bill.

Due to the possibility of going to war with Iraq and with nothing being set in stone when it comes to the Farm Bill, the four no-tillers presented what they thought would be the key points for fellow no-tillers to learn. Despite all of the uncertainties, the knowledgeable panel did a superior job. The four members included:

  • Jim Andrew, who no-tills 2,350 acres of corn and soybeans in Jefferson, Iowa.
  • Joe Alexandrowski, who no-tills 1,300 acres of corn, soybeans, oats, wheat and alfalfa in Reading, Mich.
  • Erik Hayenga, who has no-tilled as many as 9,000 acres of corn, soybeans and spring wheat in Andover, S.D.
  • Joel Myers, who is the state agronomist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Pennsylvania. Along with his brother, he also no-tills corn and soybeans near Spring Mills, Pa.

Three-Tiered System

The one area that the panel seemed to agree upon was that this Farm Bill will (if it comes to fruition) pay out incentives on a three-tiered scale under the Conservation Security Program (CSP). The CSP will provide payments to farmers who begin or maintain practices that conserve soil, water or air. Andrew gave a clear explanation as to who will quality for what tier.

  • TIER 1.

“The first tier is one that would qualify most everybody. If you were…

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