Environmental Defense Fund statement from Callie Eideberg, Senior Policy Manager, Sustainable Agriculture:
The Senate farm bill, scheduled for markup this week, will modernize the measurement of conservation practices and their contribution to farm productivity. It demonstrates strong bipartisan commitment to conservation programs.
“With a focus on soil health, technology and innovation, the Senate bill is truly a farm bill for the 21st century. It maintains full funding for core conservation programs and brings the digital revolution to the farm.
“For the first time, land-grant university researchers can use farm-level data to calculate how conservation practices impact crop yield and risk – insights that can help farmers decide whether to invest in precision conservation technologies, while maintaining their privacy.
“The bill also ensures that farmers who use innovative stewardship practices and technology maintain eligibility for crop insurance safety nets, and it increases funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which pairs public and private dollars to scale impact. Collaborations like these will incentivize an estimated $2.5 billion in additional private sector funding for conservation.
“The Senate stepped up at a critical moment for farmers and the environment. We thank Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) for their leadership and commitment to bipartisanship, and we thank their colleagues, including Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who introduced bipartisan policy proposals that are reflected in the bill.”