Vilsack says voluntary conservation programs are working

There’s been considerable debate as to whether farming conservation practices should remain voluntary or be made mandatory.  But Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack believes voluntary programs are working and that farmers are embracing new conservation practices. “We’ve recently done a series of assessments in the Upper Mississippi River Basin and in the Chesapeake Bay area, specifically,… Read more »

EWG finds ‘modest progress’ in Iowa’s erosion control efforts

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) says “modest progress” is being made in tackling soil erosion in Iowa.  But the group says erosion rates are still “intolerable”. EWG compared soil conditions on 18 fields in 2013 and again in 2014.  The group says overall erosion this year did not appear to be as severe as last… Read more »

Nutrient loss reduction top priority for conservation group

Nutrient loss reduction is of great concern to the Association of Illinois Soil & Water Conservation Districts. Richard Nichols, Executive Director says it is the group’s top priority. “We’ve been hearing a lot about it and I do believe it is going to come to the forefront very soon. The state of Illinois has spent… Read more »

Wisconsin expands AEA acreage

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will create four new Agricultural Enterprise Areas or AEAs and expand an existing one on January 1st, 2015.  The new areas cover more than 191,000 acres in Clark, Columbia, Marathon, Monroe and Outagamie Counties.  It will bring the total amount of land under AEAs in the… Read more »

Wisconsin quarantines seven more EAB counties

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is adding seven new southwestern counties to the state’s emerald ash borer quarantine list.  EAB has been found in Columbia, Monroe and Grant Counties.  Because they are now surrounded by EAB-infested counties, Richland, Iowa, Lafayette and Green Counties will also be quarantined. The quarantine will be… Read more »

Ohio receives conservation/outdoor funds

Ohio has been awarded nearly $1.3 million to promote conservation and outdoor recreation. Senator Sherrod Brown says funding from the Department of the Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Gulf of Mexico’s Energy Security Act will help Ohio’s natural resources and create new outdoor recreation opportunities. “Strong funding for the Land and… Read more »

Concerns shared about Farm Bill implementation

USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse heard concerns from lawmakers this week at a House Ag subcommittee hearing on Farm Bill implementation. South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem told Scuse that farmers need adequate time to reach conservation compliance if they make an honest mistake, “I know producers out there many times are busy, they’ve got a lot… Read more »

EPA talks water rule on Missouri farm

If farmers didn’t need a water permit before they won’t need one with the new rule of the Clean Water Act — That’s what EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told members of the Kansas City AgriBusiness Council on Thursday, the day after she told that to reporters on a Missouri farm tour. “Unless you’re really doing… Read more »

EPA: What water matters and what doesn’t

A Missouri farmer says he learned some things from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that he’s doing right on his farm. Bill Heffernan and his partners farm 500 rolling acres of soybeans, corn, sorghum and cover crops in central Missouri. He was worried that one of his ponds would fall under the EPA’s Waters of the… Read more »

NMPF asks EPA to withdraw Clean Water proposal

The National Milk Producers Federation joining the chorus of farm groups expressing concern over EPA’s proposed guidance for the Clean Water Act. In fact, NMPF is asking the EPA to withdraw the proposal. The EPA guidance, officially called an Interpretive Rule, was issued in March. It says producers are only exempt from needing Clean Water… Read more »