ASWM is keeping an eye on the development of the 2012 Farm Bill. On this page you can find updates on the Farm Bill as well as agricultural news in the context of wetlands and related issues. For Farm Bill 2012 resources on the web, click here.

By Erica Goode – The New York Times – March 9, 2015

Gabe Brown is in such demand as a speaker that for every invitation he accepts, he turns down 10 more. At conferences, like the one held here at a Best Western hotel recently, people line up to seek his advice. “The greatest roadblock to solving a problem is the human mind,” he tells audiences. Mr. Brown, a balding North Dakota farmer who favors baseball caps and red-striped polo shirts, is not talking about disruptive technology start-ups, political causes, or the latest self-help fad. He is talking about farming, specifically soil-conservation farming, a movement that promotes leaving fields untilled, “green manures” and other soil-enhancing methods with an almost evangelistic fervor. For full story, click here.

By Scott Streater – E & E Publishing LLC – February 12, 2015

Federal partnerships with private landowners across the West have resulted in protecting millions of acres of greater sage grouse habitat, according to a new report that underscores the critical role ranchers play in ongoing efforts to save the imperiled bird. The report released today by the Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Conservation Service shows that since 2010, NRCS has spent $296 million on programs partnering with ranchers and other private landowners that have resulted in restoring 4.4 million acres of sage grouse habitat. USDA also announced today that it plans to spend an additional $200 million over the next four years through conservation programs funded by the farm bill to expand restoration partnerships with working ranches and farms covering hundreds of thousands of acres across the grouse's 11-state Western range. For full story, click here.

 

By John Seewer – Seattle PI – January 18, 2015

Farmers in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana are being asked to be part of the solution in fixing the algae problem in Lake Erie. Federal officials on Friday outlined a program that will make $17.5 million available to farmers who take steps to reduce the pollutants that wash away from the fields and help the algae thrive. First, it's a voluntary program so farmers won't be forced to take part. And it only applies to those who have land in the western Lake Erie watershed, which is mostly made up of northwestern Ohio, southeastern Michigan and northeastern Indiana.For full story, click here.

By Janell Thomas – Farm Futures – February 2, 2015

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers late Friday issued a memorandum of understanding to withdraw the Waters of the U.S. Interpretive Rule, which outlines which conservation activities provide farmers an exemption from Clean Water Act permitting. Congress requested that EPA and Army Corps withdraw the IR in its "Cromnibus" funding legislation, passed in December. Many farm groups opposed the Interpretive Rule, which offered 56 "normal farming and ranching" exemptions under the regulations of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. For full story, click here.


By Madeline Fisher – American Society of Agronomy – December 15, 2014

Reading this summer’s media coverage of Lake Erie’s water quality woes, you might conclude that the lake’s harmful algal blooms (HABs) would stop if farmers simply fertilized less. But as anyone who knows the complexities of natural and managed systems can tell you, silver bullet solutions don’t exist—no matter how much government officials and the public may want them in the wake of Toledo’s drinking water crisis in early August. For one thing, the agricultural community is well aware that the load of dissolved reactive phosphorus—the main fuel for HABs—has been rising in Lake Erie since the late 1990s, even as total phosphorus has held steady or declined. What’s still not clear is exactly why. For full story, click here.