As Farm Bill discussions continue to move forward, Don Carr with the Environmental Working Group says like many other groups, they also have priorities for 2012. “We have an idea to provide free crop insurance to every farmer that cover yield losses of 30% or more,” he says. “That would be a nice way to equal it out where we’re not picking winners or losers. The bigger farms, more profitable operations that only grow the ‘five favorite commodity’ crops, are receiving the bulk of tax payer support.”
Carr tells Brownfield EWG would like to see all farmers receive some level of support that isn’t revenue based and doesn’t guarantee profits, but instead helps keep farmers on the land when they are in dire straits.
Carr says EWG also feels conservation compliance is another issue that should be addressed in the 2012 Farm Bill. “Everyone agrees that direct payment farm subsidies will go away,” he says. “Conservation compliance is the requirement that farmers, in exchange for taxpayer support, engage in environmentally friendly practices. If direct payments go away, that contract with tax payers goes away.”
He emphasized the importance that a conservation component remains in any new type of risk management program to protect the nation’s water, soil and wildlife habitat.