February 02, 2005

Crapo: Conservation Programs Produce Real Environmental Benefits

Senator chairs oversight hearing on 2002 Farm Bill

Washington, DC â?? Citing Idaho conservation success stories, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo praised the 2002 Farm Billâ??s conservation programs during an oversight hearing today in the Senate Subcommittee on Forestry, Conservation, and Rural Revitalization. Crapo, who chairs the subcommittee, called the hearing to analyze the Farm Bill programs and the progress made since the bill was signed into law. â??I continue to assert that the Farm Bill is one of the most environmentally significant pieces of legislation that Congress deals with,â?? Crapo said. â??The conservation programs result in real, significant environmental benefits. The success of these voluntary, incentive programs in addressing environmental concerns is a testament to the farmers and ranchers who make a living off the land, and have long been the best stewards of the resource, and the employees at USDA who were faced with the task of implementing these programs. The conservation title to the 2002 Farm Bill was a tremendous step forward in meeting the public demands for cleaner air and water, greater soil conservation, increased wildlife habitat, and more open spaces.â?? President Bush signed the new Farm Bill, titled the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, into law on May 13, 2002 (P.L. 107-171). The 2002 Farm Bill increased spending for conservation programs by 80 percent. It increased the commitment to conservation by more than $17.1 billion over 10 years.Todayâ??s hearing included a panel of witnesses representing those affected by the conservation programs, including Idahoan Gordon Gallup of Ririe who testified on behalf of the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Cotton Council, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, and the USA Rice Federation.â??Two years after the bill was signed into law, I am aware that there are also challenges and questions that remain,â?? Crapo added. â??The hearing today provides an opportunity for our subcommittee to hear reports on the implementation of the Conservation Title programs and work with the USDA to maximize the success of those programs in the future.â??# # #