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Being an election year, candidates are already thinking about new governmental farm programs that could please environmentalists while benefiting no-tillers.
That’s part of the message that came out of the Commodity Classic held in early March in Orlando, Fla. Sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association, it attracted 3,792 attendees.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman told attendees that Congress is only 2 years away from needing to draft a new farm bill. And he admits the current farm bill has not provided an adequate safety net for farmers.
Glickman hopes the new Farm Bill will feature many aspects of conservation as a centerpiece of ag policy and offer the kind of payments needed to get this job done. “Land itself is the most valuable asset of agriculture and we need to protect it,” says Glickman.
He also pointed out that Congress is hoping to expand the Conservation Reserve Program acreage from 36 to 40 million acres. In addition, Iowa senator Tom Harkin’s bill, which has not yet been adopted by Congress, would require direct conservation payments through 3- to 5-year conservation security contracts for many practices which are already being used by many no-tillers.
Other proposed legislation would authorize an additional $125 million for buffer strips to protect waterways, environmental quality incentives, wildlife habitat incentives, more dollars for wetland conservation and farmland protection programs.
Attendees challenged Monsanto to explain why U.S. farmers are at such a…