HOUSE AGRICULTURE SUBCOMMITTEE APPROVES FARM BILL TITLES TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY
Today Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, announced that the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research approved legislative proposals addressing the four "titles" that fall under the Subcommittee's jurisdiction. These four titles, including the Conservation Title, will be combined with a variety of other titles into an omnibus piece of legislation commonly referred to as a farm bill.
The Conservation Title, as approved by the Subcommittee, included several key provisions designed to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. Specifically, the Conservation Title authorizes a program designed to reduce nutrients and sediments in the Bay. This provision directs the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive plan for restoring, preserving, and protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Secretary of Agriculture must begin this project with several rivers that are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including the Shenandoah River.
Additionally, the Conservation Title establishes a pilot program to undertake comprehensive conservation planning to assist farmers before they submit an application for conservation assistance. The results of the conservation assessment, as well as available financial assistance, will be provided to farmers to enable them to make informed choices on what type of conservation practices to employ to effectively address the resource needs of their operation and remain consistent with the environmental goals of the Chesapeake Bay area.
The Conservation Title also reauthorizes the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). This program has helped thousands of farmers install streamside buffers and other conservation practices on their farms to help reduce nutrient run-off.
"The Chesapeake Bay is a cherished part of our American heritage," said Goodlatte. "I am committed to finding resources and solutions that can be included in the farm bill to help farmers do their part to maintain a healthy watershed. The provisions that the Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research Subcommittee have passed will help farmers with the costs of complying with environmental regulations."
The titles approved by the Subcommittee on Tuesday will be passed along to the full Agriculture Committee for further consideration and inclusion in the farm bill.