NAWG Commends Senate Agriculture Committee for Holding a Hearing to Examine the Farm Bill Conservation Programs

Washington, D.C. (June 29, 2017) Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry held a Full Committee hearing on “Conservation and Forestry: Perspectives on the Past and Future Direction for the 2018 Farm Bill”. Members heard testimony from several USDA representatives including Mr. Tom Tidwell, Chief of the Forest Service; Mr. Jimmy Bramblett, Deputy Chief of Programs at the Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Ms. Misty Jones, Director, Conservation and Environmental Programs Division at the Farm Service Agency.

NAWG President David Schemm submitted written testimony for the record and made the following statement:

“Cropping systems, climate, and soils vary across the country for wheat farmers. Accordingly, conservation programs need to provide farmers the flexibility they need to efficiently manage their resources.

“NAWG has prioritized working lands conservation programs in our discussions about the next Farm Bill and support the continuation of voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs.

“Working lands programs, such as CSP and EQIP, are the most beneficial in helping grower manage their operations to address natural resource concerns and maintain a viable crop. These programs should be balanced with CRP which can also play an integral part of a conservation plan on a farmer’s operation.

“Wheat growers are focused on managing our operations for long term success. Without a successful crop each year and long term financial stability, we cannot purchase new equipment, test new practices and experiment with new cropping systems. Farm Bill Conservation programs provide a backstop that allows us to make investments in pioneering technology and try new conservation practices.

“NAWG members are very supportive of Farm Bill Conservation Program and we encourage the committee to retain the variety of conservation program the Farm Bill offers. We are also looking forward to working with Committee on the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization.”

During the second panel, members heard testimony from Mr. Steven Horning, Horning Farms in Watertown, S.D.; Mr. Paul D. Dees, Chairman, Delta Wildlife in Stoneville, MS; Ms. Barb Downey, Downey Ranch in Wamego, KS; Mr. Adam Sharp, Executive Vice President of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation; Dr. Salem Saloom, Tree Farmer and Owner, Saloom Properties in Brewton, AL; Mr. Chuck Roady, Vice President and General Manager of F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company; and Dr. Christopher Topik, Director of North America Forest Restoration, North America Region of the The Nature Conservancy.