Conservation and farm groups are pushing for renewed financing for federal farmland conservation programs. Iowa Farmers Union president Chris Petersen says President Bush proposes ending three key federal conservation programs for farmers. He says the money is good solid help for farmers.Robert Gronski of the National Catholic Rural Life Conferencesays the programs are vital for farmers who want to be good stewards of the land.The federal ag programs slated for a shutdown in the House Appropriations Bill include the Wetlands Reserve Program, the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program and the Farmland Protection Program. The Center for Rural Affairs says it’s time for family farmers to speak out in favor of a farm bill that strengthens family farms rather than undermines them. Center for Rural Affairs program director Chuck Hassebrook says a farm bill proposal from House Ag Committee leaders would continue the trend of increasing the share of government payment to large farms.Hassebrook says the proposal gives large farms eight different ways of dividing their federal farm payments so they don’t exceed thresholds intended to limit the take for large farms.The Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit group established in Walthill, Nebraska, 28 years ago.
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