A brief in support of conservation compliance

Conservation compliance – an effort to link federal subsidies for farmers’ crop insurance premiums to protection of wetlands and highly erodible land – is still a hot issue as Congress works to draft a new federal Farm Bill.

Last year, the U.S. Senate approved a Farm Bill that included a conservation compliance requirement for farmers seeking subsidized crop insurance. A bill that passed the House agriculture committee did not include the requirement.

The compliance requirement currently applies to several other parts of the Farm Bill that authorize payments to farmers, but not crop insurance. Those other subsidy programs are likely to be eliminated by Congress in favor of significantly expanded crop insurance coverage.

Read a recent article –“Conservation Compliance: A 25-Year Legacy of Stewardship” – by Jim Moseley, an Indiana farmer and former deputy secretary of agriculture from 2001 to 2005 under President George W. Bush. The article strongly supports making conservation compliance a condition for qualifying for federal crop insurance.

Read an American Farmland Trust description of the issue and Moseley’s article. Read an August 2011 column by Freshwater Society President Gene Merriam endorsing conservation compliance.