Friday, 15 February 2013

Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on "Drought, Fire, and Freeze"

The Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday held a hearing on disasters and agriculture policy. The slew of disasters in the last year are related both to crop insurance issues and environmental constraints on food production. The hearing website includes video and testimony from USDA chief economist Joe Glauber, NOAA director Roger Pulwarty, and several farmers and ranchers.

There is good related news and commentary from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), AgriPulse, and Keith Good.

NSAC writes:
The witnesses discussed a variety of conservation programs including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP). Ben Steffen, the diversified crop-livestock producer from Nebraska, noted that his CSP contract has been instrumental in helping him change his tillage practices and establish cover crops on his land. His extensive cover cropping has helped retain moisture and soil throughout the ongoing drought. The producers from Michigan, Indiana, and Montana each noted specific conservation practices, such as no-till, cover cropping, buffer strips, and irrigation improvements that built resiliency into their operations and helped them respond to droughts, floods, freezes.

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