Across the state, farmers are organizing to protect the Conservation Stewardship Program
The September 30 deadline for the 2018 Farm Bill is quickly approaching, and Illinois Stewardship Alliance, along with our members across the state, have been working to draw attention to a set of local food and conservation programs in the Farm Bill that are destined to run out of funding at the end of this fiscal year. Through “Dishing on the Farm Bill” letter-writing parties and phone calls, our members have been raising awareness, but the latest efforts have been led by farmers themselves.
The House and the Senate have passed their own versions of the 2018 Farm Bill and the final phases are underway at the conference committee sessions. The House’s farm bill proposes to eliminate the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program on working farms and ranches, and float some of CSP’s funding into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The implications of the House’s bill would result in $290 million loss in working lands funding over the next 10 years.
To shed light on the importance of a strong farm bill that supports family farmers, sustainable agriculture, and a more equitable future, Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s Soil Health Champions–Alan Bailey, Chase Brown, Dave Brown, and Woody Woodruff– met on September 6 to discuss the importance of conservation programs, like CSP, their personal commitment to conservation and CSP, and the Alliance’s Conservation/CSP sign-on letter addressed to Congressman Rodney Davis.
76 people, including many farmers currently using CSP, signed the letter which was delivered to Rep. Davis on September 6. The letter urges Rep. Davis to support the Senate version of the farm bill and to protect CSP as a stand-alone program.
There is still time to make our voices heard. Host your own Dishing on the Farm Bill party, write a letter, or make a call to Representative Davis. Tell Rep. Davis that we need a farm bill that protects our shared natural resources by protecting the nation’s largest resource conservation program on working farm and ranch lands: the Conservation Stewardship Program.
District contact information:
Taylorville District Office
108 W. Market St.
Taylorville, IL 62568
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm
For more information, check out the great write-up by Illinois Farmer Today