Earlier this week, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service Director David White gave a speech to Michigan Farmers at an agricultural banquet. In his speech, he praised conservation programs and lauded farmers, whom he credited with making conservation programs and environmental protection programs possible.
As budget debates in Congress heat up, federal agencies are preparing for significant funding cuts. The USDA in particular has been singled out in austerity talks. Having already seen its budget reduced over the past year, the USDA is expected to absorb further funding reductions. The upcoming Farm Bill is expected to cut at least $20 billion from agricultural programs.
At the forefront of these budget cuts are conservation programs, which have seen their budgets shrink by millions of dollars. While White’s speech was ostensibly to praise farmers for their willingness to embrace conservation programs, which he did, praising the “commitment and stewardship… farmers [have],” he also addressed the importance of the conservation movement as a whole.
During his talk, he pointed out hundreds of government-funded projects across the country that have helped reduce erosion, improve water quality, and protect wildlife. These programs not only help the environment, he argued, but also benefit farmers and help create a stronger farm sector.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer