Wild Farm Alliance just released a new publication, Farm Bill 2018 Issue Brief: Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Our report is based on interviews of Montana farmers and ranchers who are enrolled in CSP. This program not only offers farmers and ranchers financial incentives to establish whole farm stewardship efforts, but also provides a myriad of significant, complementary benefits to the environment. In-depth interviews were conducted in the spring 2018 by Mary Ellis, a graduate student at University of Montana.
While many benefits and challenges of CSP came up during interviews, prominent themes were identified, including: the wildlife benefits of CSP, ranchers experiences with grazing and CSP, how resource conserving crop rotations are working for farmers and ranchers, and finally proposed improvements to the program.
We are releasing this brief as the House and Senate are coming together to try and reconcile the wildly different versions of the Farm Bill they recently passed.
The House Bill (passed June 2018), cuts the farm bill conservation title (that includes programs like CSP and EQIP) by nearly $1 million - further reducing the already small percentage devoted to conservation. It also combines CSP into EQIP and ignores crucial components like payments for conservation benefits and allows CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) to be CSP eligible.
Fortunately, the Senate Bill (also passed June 2018) takes a very different approach and does not gut CSP or make any sweeping cuts to the conservation title. WFA is continuing to work with a national coalition to keep the pressure on our decision makers to approve a Farm Bill that prioritizes conservation.
CSP's underlying premise is extremely valuable to promoting farming with the wild, even with its needed improvements.
For the Wild,