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Group Wants Farm Subsidies Linked to Environment


The US Senate passed a new five year farm bill last week and the house may take it up as early as this week.

The Prairie Rivers Network, an Illinois environmental group, wants a provision in the bill to link federal subsidies to environmentally friendly farming practices.

The concept called “conservation compliance” would link federally subsidized crop insurance to farmers following certain practices meant to protect wetlands and limit soil erosion.

As far as erosion, this includes installing grass waterways and building terraces on sloped fields.

Prairie Rivers Network Water Resource Scientist, Stacy James, said conservation compliance just makes sense.

“So these are things that are not rocket science, they’re not horribly expensive, and they are things that help the productivity of the farm,” James said.

Western Illinois University agronomist, Marc Bernards, said he believes that policy is “a win, win, win.”

He explained that by that he meant it helps the environment, helps boost farmers’ productivity, and it stabilizes yields from year to year making it so insurance companies will have to pay out on policies less often.

Scott Stuntz is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.