03-19-18 Center for Rural Affairs: GROW Act strengthens conservation programs

GROW Act strengthens conservation programs

Lyons, Neb. – Late last week, Iowa’s Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) as well as Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) introduced the Give our Resources the Opportunity to Work, or GROW, Act (S. 2557).

The act would maintain funding and acreage levels for the farm bill’s three largest conservation programs: the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

“The GROW Act demonstrates clear support for our nation’s farmers to strengthen conservation efforts across the landscape,” said Anna Johnson, policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. “At a time when building healthy soils and protecting water quality are of utmost importance, any cuts to these conservation programs would weaken farmers’ ability to preserve these important natural resources.”

Johnson said the GROW Act provides avenues for farmers to access higher levels of conservation.

“Some of the exciting proposals in the bill are that it incentivizes cover crops under CSP, increases set-aside funds for conservation buffers within continuous CRP, and maintains an emphasis on water quality under EQIP in support of farmers who steward natural resources for future generations,” Johnson said. “We thank Sens. Ernst and Grassley for demonstrating such strong support for farmers in the stewardship of their land.”

The Center for Rural Affairs also supports a similar bill, Strengthening Our Investment in Land (SOIL) Stewardship Act of 2018 (H.R. 5188), introduced in the House last week by Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN).

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.