The Iowa Corn Growers Association is calling on Congress to take another look at the USDA’s plan to implement a conservation program created in the federal farm bill. Spokesman Tade Sullivan says the program’s a great one, but problems cropped up when the agency began to make rules for how it’ll be put into effect. One rule the USDA’s written says you must live in a chosen “priority watershed” to be part of the program, but that wasn’t in the program as it was written in the farm-bill. He says now the plan is to determine in Washington which watersheds all over the country need the program the most. The Corn Growers aren’t the only group in the country to raise questions about how a nationwide program’s going to be set up and administered by a small agency in the nation’s capital. They deem what practices are most important, and after those are taken care of he says there’s no money for other applicants, even those that are eligible. The NRCS should look to state and local conservationists, and to farmers, to determine where conservation practices are needed the most. The program was designed to benefit a wide variety of farmers and encourage them to take part in conservation programs, but he says the way it’s shaping up the program will benefit only a few and will discourage many. The program has a big disappointment in it — lack of funding. He says the payment to producers is reduced to a tenth of what was specified in the farm bill. The Corn Growers Association is calling on Congress to schedule oversight hearings on the proposed regulations for putting the conservation program into effect. 63-hundred farmers are “grower-members” of the ICGA.
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