The new federal farm bill has many strong conservation programs that are lifelines for Pennsylvania farmers. These programs allow farmers to produce the crops needed to feed families globally, protecting our water quality along the way.
We needed Congress to understand these points and ensure that the importance of conservation efforts wasn’t lost in the final farm bill language.
One major reason our message was heard and received was thanks to the efforts of U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township, the chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry.
Thompson took the time to connect with local conservation groups such as ours to garner local solutions to address the challenges being met at the federal level in regards to finalizing the farm bill.
One such solution addressed our fiscal challenges by understanding the necessity of reductions to federal conservation spending while identifying the need to improve conservation program efficiencies and improvements in program delivery.
This outreach resulted in a conservation title in the farm bill that will allow for cleaner water for Pennsylvania waterways, resulting in healthier communities and stronger economies.
Robert Maiden, Harrisburg
The writer is executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts Inc. (www.pacd.org).