Rep. Peterson: Fight for farmers, protect conservation stewardship program

To the editor:

I try to farm in a way that makes sense economically for my family and for the land. I am the fifth generation of my family to farm this land. Unfortunately, some federal farm policies encourage profit over stewardship.

This is why I think the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) makes sense and is good farm policy. This program, which I have enrolled in, allows farmers like me to be supported in the conservation activities I am already doing and encourages us to do more.

Minnesota farmers are leaders in the nation in enrolled acres in the CSP, totaling over 3.3 million acres and representing over 13 percent of Minnesota’s farmland. Yet, the current House Farm Bill eliminates this program for no good reason. The Senate Farm Bill maintains the program and improves it by increasing the payment levels for cover crops, resource conserving crop rotations, and management-intensive rotational grazing.

The Senate version will generate positive outcomes for Minnesota’s soil, water and wildlife habitat. These outcomes benefit every Minnesotan, especially Minnesota farmers.

Rep. Collin Peterson, as the ranking Democrat of the U.S. House Ag Committee, will be negotiating for the final bill and will be a key voice when the horse trading begins. ep. Peterson has worked a long time in D.C. and I haven’t heard him say publicly he will stand up for us and this good program. We all need to work together to save CSP because Minnesota farmers use this program and if it is eliminated, Minnesota loses.

Ryan Batalden