US Conservation Stewardship Programme may miss the mark
12 October 2020
The USDA recently issued a final updates to the Conservation Stewardship Programme, but the NFU fears that the rules leave structural flaws unaddressed.
In comparison to the interim rule, the final version places a greater emphasis on soil health – an issue that National Farmers Union (NFU) had encouraged the agency to give more consideration in comments submitted earlier this year.
However, the organisation was disappointed that USDA did not incorporate many of its other requests, including support for long-term stewardship and lower payment limits for participants. NFU President Rob Larew highlighted those concerns in a statement:
“As farmers cope with increasingly severe environmental challenges, they are investing more time, money, and expertise in conserving natural resources, mitigating climate change, and adapting to greater weather extremes. While the Conservation Stewardship Programme is providing essential support for those efforts, some modest changes would help maximise the environmental impact of every dollar spent.
“We are pleased that USDA incorporated some improvements in its final rule, most notably its inclusion of soil health as a priority. However, the rule does not elaborate on how this goal will be achieved. Moving forward, we encourage the agency to provide