Conservation, Energy & Environment

10 Days of Sustainable Ag Advocacy: An Intern’s Perspective

March 15, 2010

by Kara Slaughter, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute “With reference to individual or national welfare, agriculture is of primary importance.”  -George Washington So reads one of the three quotations at the top of the stone edifice at the U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Part of what prompted me to quit my “real job” […]

Vilsack and Merrigan At Senate Agricultural Appropriations Hearing

March 10, 2010

Appropriations season is in full swing in Washington, and appropriators are deciding which programs to fund and which to cut. Hearings on funding levels for 2011 are occurring almost daily, as the House and Senate Appropriations Committees begin the annual process that generally results in markups in late spring, floor votes in the summer, and […]

Speed Up the 2010 CSP Sign-up

March 9, 2010

Please join the more than 60 organizations who have signed on to our letter urging Secretary Vilsack to make critical improvements to the Conservation Stewardship (CSP) Program and to initiate a 2010 Sign Up as soon as possible. The letter urges Secretary Vilsack to: •    ensure that the program effectively rewards sustainable and organic farming systems •   […]

2010 Conservation Reserve Program Sign-up Announced

March 5, 2010

At last Saturday’s Pheasants Fest in Des Moines Iowa, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced there will a general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) this year, the first general sign-up since 2006.  In testimony before Congress last year USDA indicated there would not be a general sign-up this year, so this week’s announcement represents […]

Ranking the Sustainability of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

February 25, 2010

Results from a recent survey conducted by Tufts University, in cooperation with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, demonstrate that a majority of the conservation practices funded by the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) are ranked as advancing sustainability, while several rank as not advancing sustainability.  The survey results and accompanying article are published in the […]

House Ag Appropriation Hearings kick off with questions for Vilsack

February 25, 2010

Yesterday’s hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture kicked off the annual ag appropriations cycle with a round of questions for Secretary Vilsack on the USDA’s budget proposals for 2011.  Members covered a wide swath of issues, and specifically addressed a number of programs of interest to NSAC members, including the Biomass Crop Assistance […]

$320 Million to Improve Health of Mississippi River Basin

February 22, 2010

In November of last year Secretary Vilsack announced a commitment of $320 million over the next four years for a Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI) to address water quality, wildlife habitat and natural resource conservation concerns in the Basin.   The Agency’s focus will bring badly needed resources to bear on the very serious water quality problems in the Basin. […]

NSAC’s 2010 Policy Priorities

February 15, 2010

Each year, the NSAC membership engages in a set of discussions within NSAC’s four policy issue committees and then at our annual face-to-face meeting in January about the coming year’s policy priorities.  The NSAC Policy Council, made up of formally represented members, makes the final decision about the slate of issues the coalition will together […]

USDA Proposal for Biomass Crop Assistance Program Falls Far Short of Promoting Sustainable Bioenergy Production

February 10, 2010

This week USDA issued a proposed rule for the increasingly controversial Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). The department will take public comments on the proposed rule until April 9, 2010. The 2008 Farm Bill and the accompanying Manager’s Statement clearly spells out BCAP’s primary focus: to promote the cultivation of perennial bioenergy crops that show […]

Farm and Conservation Groups Oppose Obama’s Proposed Farm Bill Cuts

February 5, 2010

In a February 5 letter to the House and Senate Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittees, farm, conservation and environmental groups urged Congress to reject President Obama’s proposed $1 billion-plus cut to mandatory farm conservation program funding.  The letter, coordinated by NSAC, was signed by 37 organizations including Audubon, Clean Water Network, Environmental Defense Fund, Izaak Walton League […]


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