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July 29-1030-Andrew Manale

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2019 SWCS International Annual Conference
July 28-31, 2019
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2019 SWCS International Annual Conference
July 28-31, 2019
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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July 29-1030-Andrew Manale

  1. 1. 2018 Farm Bill and Conservation An Assessment 2019 SWCS Annual Conference Pittsburgh Andrew Manale USEPA (retired)
  2. 2. Criteria for Evaluation • New goals or objectives • Does the FB expand the definition of agricultural conservation? • Does it establish new priorities for funding or interventions • Does it expand conservation through new funding or leveraging? • Does it create new tools for conservation and hence new opportunities to improve or address unaddressed concerns? • Wedge projects or Pilots • Change landowner/manager incentives for what practices to adopt
  3. 3. New Goals and Objectives: an explanation • Conservation programs must counteract negative effects • commodity or other federal programs • market forces or financial risk • environmental conditions • Floods, wildlife habitat, droughts • Are there financial incentives for monoculture, cropping marginal lands, using pesticides and fertilizers as insurance? • Conservation often pays farmers not to do bad • Reward good behavior • Climate change is ongoing—adjustments may always be necessary
  4. 4. New What the 2018 FB Does Goals and Objectives • Recognizes climate and energy problems • However it switches mandatory funding to discretionary • Makes future funding more uncertain thereby discouraging participation • Increased focus on increasing carbon levels in soils • Supports expansion of renewables to more than just ethanol • Biomass • Carbon sequestration in soils But No New Money or Incentives
  5. 5. New Goals and Objectives (cont’d) • Shifts funding incentives from rewarding farmers for doing good conservation (CSP)—producing amenities • Eliminate CSP • To more funding for assisting farmers not to do bad (EQIP)— reducing harm • Some funding from CSP shifts to EQIP
  6. 6. Does It Expand Conservation through New Funding or Leveraging? • No • $687 billion is consistent with 2014 FB funding • Shifts more $ out of mandatory to discretionary (annual appropriations) • No new major programs • 2018 FB may actually significantly reduce conservation
  7. 7. Does It Expand Conservation through New Funding or Leveraging? (cont’d) • Undermines CRP • Reduces general enrollment per acre payment for CRP to below county market rate • CRP is by far most successful ag conservation program with possible exception of conservation compliance • CRP’s traditional focus--marginal lands • Reduced funding--may dissuade farmers from putting these lands into CRP, ie. enroll in crop insurance and continue cropping • Weakens wildlife protections by opening the window for grazing during nesting season
  8. 8. Does It Expand Conservation through New Funding or Leveraging? (cont’d) • Makes opting out of CRP easier • Reduces per acre payments for farmable wetlands program • Possibly allows EQIP funds to be used for increased drainage (?)
  9. 9. New tools? • No new tools for conservation • No dedicated funding for monitoring and assessment, i.e. accountability projects • CEAP arose out of the 2002 farm bill • How much money is needed to achieve conservation objectives • What has worked • What has not • What can we do differently • This Farm Bill ignores findings of CEAP • Weakens existing tools • Relaxes enforcement of Swampbuster • increases loopholes
  10. 10. Summary / Conclusion • 2018 Farm Bill is largely and at best a status quo farm bill • Possibly makes achieving sustainability harder • Less accountability • Relaxed enforcement • Lower payment rate for CRP and thus targeting made more difficult • Does little for ongoing conservation problems, • e.g. nutrient enrichment problems and water quality, climate change, floods and droughts, loss of wildlife habitat
  11. 11. 2018 Farm bill New Goals No. Emphasis on production, not conservation Expand Conservation No. Contracts Conservation. Less money New Tools No. Reduces effectiveness of existing tools Conclusion Step in the wrong direction. Threatens

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