March 25, 2011
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s inbox was brimming this week with letters from farmers and advocates for USDA Conservation Programs. Hundreds responded to our action alert calling for letters to the Secretary asking him to stand up for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Wetlands Reserve Program(WRP).
As the Obama Administration negotiates with the House over cuts to fiscal year 2011 spending, it is critical that we push back on any deal that does what the Obama 2012 budget proposes to do: The Obama 2012 budget would make even deeper cuts to the CRP and the WRP than the House has proposed. If no one in the administration stands up for the CSP and WRP they could end up as a couple of convenient give-aways as the negotiations over the 2011 budget proceed.
Many of the letters in the Secretary’s inbox urging him to be the voice of reason and a champion for conservation are compelling. You can read a few of them below and then click here to write and send your own.
Dear Secretary Vilsack: It is essential that the Conservation Stewardship and the Wetlands Reserve Programs are preserved. As a dairy farmer these incentives are critical to the health of our environment. It is imperative that the Administration stand for these programs.
Dear Secretary Vilsack: I live in a county that has many of the headwaters that eventually feed into the Chesapeake Bay and I do support he CSP and WRP, as I have seen the value of these programs. Please do not unfairly subject programs like this to budget cuts—-if budget cuts are to be made, please put everything on the table, starting with the large wasteful subsidies for large industrialized farms and agribusiness. Thank you.
Dear Secretary Vilsack: The importance of the Conservation Stewardship Program, and the Wetlands Reserve Program to our country’s agricultural and environmental future is incalculable. Please make sure both these programs do not get cut in the political horse trading now underway. Cutting these programs while maintaining the massive agribusiness subsidies would be an unjust tragedy, undermining/destroying one of the linchpins of our agricultural future. This is bad, shortsighted policy!
Dear Secretary Vilsack: I have been a supporter of the CSP for many years. This modest program helps thousands of small farmers and is a valuable means of shifting our ag practices towards sustainability–something we desperately need to support. Along with wetlands preservation, such programs are investments in our future.
Dear Secretary Vilsack: We have come far in our conservation efforts as a nation by realizing the value of conservation stewardship and preserving and restoring our wetlands. Please continue those efforts by supporting the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program. Both of these programs are an integral part of the health and well-being of whole ecosystems, which not only are important for wildlife and species diversity, but for us and our watersheds, soils, and air. Please defend the farm bill’s conservation programs from all sides including the White House.
From New York:
Dear Secretary Vilsack: I urge you to stand up for the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program. I am a small farmer in Suffolk County, New York. The CSP is of vital importance to me and other small farmers who are leading the way towards increasing the supply of fresh, local, and organic vegetables to our communities.