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Boozman says voluntary conservation programs vital

The Ranking Member of the Senate Ag Committee says conservation programs in the next farm bill need to remain voluntary.

Senator John Boozman told a farm bill conservation and forestry hearing Wednesday that Washington prioritized a limited set of conservation and resource concerns, but he says if they prioritize certain practices, it would undermine the continued success of the USDA’s voluntary programs. “The prioritization of resource concerns must be left to the local level where producers decide how they can best address their unique and varied landscapes and needs.”

Boozman emphasized the need for program flexibility. “Cover crops might not work in dry climates but capturing water and preventing erosion are important resource practices farmers and ranchers can employ, and the funding and flexibility should be there for them to do so.”

 And when it comes to tying safety net programs to conservation practices he says, “We cannot take on risky proposals that endanger the safety net. Tying crop insurance to incentives for certain conservation practices, dictated by those in Washington, should be off the table.”

Boozman says when it comes to paying for ag research, rural development, and a reinforced safety net, all funding sources must be considered including the Inflation Reduction Act dollars.

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