Iowa Farmers asking for commonsense, climate-smart Farm Bill

by | Feb 22, 2024 | 5 Ag Stories, News

As the Farm Bill is already six months late and languishing as an extension based on five to ten-year-old data, farmers are concerned with ensuring it gets done on time to avoid another year of kicking the can down the road. There is already a high probability that this will happen. While the Farm Bill is not set to expire until September 30th, we know that there is a month-long August Recess, and after that, the entire House and one-third of the Senate will be on the campaign trail to try and keep their jobs. That means they won’t be in D.C. to get much business done. As we mentioned earlier this week, the Ag policy and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are likely to become weaponized as campaign fodder as November draws closer.

If only they would spend that much time on it now.

Not only are farmers concerned with how much time has been wasted with little to no accomplishments, but they are also making sure that the Farm Bill is updated for the times we find ourselves in. You cannot deny that conservation agriculture and climate-smart practices are going through a renaissance. Farmers are being encouraged to adopt more of these practices, but sometimes that tough part is making it pay.

Scott Henry is a Nevada, Iowa farmer and owns Longview Farms. He talks about the importance of having more climate-smart programs and funding available so farmers can meet the demands of the consumer who wants to know that their products are being produced responsibly.

One of the biggest hurdles for farmers to overcome when wanting to implement these practices is financials. It has to be able to pay to incentivize farmers to try these practices.

Henty says that while there has been a push to reallocate unused portions of the Inflation Reduction Act, we should instead use the funding earmarked for conservation agriculture as it was intended. Funding is needed for these programs, and they wouldn’t need to worry about finding more dollars in the Farm Bill if they just use the already available money. Henry also states that the NRCS offices which are instrumental to getting farmers enrolled in these programs are sorely understaffed.

Henry says that without the proper incentives, Farmers won’t be encouraged, or they will not see a return on investment to warrant the cost of establishing these practices. Farmers want to see consistency in the support for practices they are going to implement.

We will have more from our visit with Scott Henry on tonight’s edition of Ag Matters PM and this weekend on Weekend Ag Matters.