The many programs of the farm bill help farmers and ranchers improve the environment while producing food for the nation. Maryland Farm Bureau Member Jo-Ann Chason says farm bill programs helped her when moving livestock to new land about ten years ago.
She says, “Here in Maryland, we treasure the Chesapeake Bay, and therefore we have strict regulations on nutrient and natural resource management. I was required to fence out a pond on the property and this resulted in me also having to install a geothermal well-fed water fountain so that there would be a constant supply of water for the livestock. For a small operator as myself, this was a costly undertaking. It was incredibly helpful to work with NRCS who cost shared the project with me.”
With the farm bill expiring, Chason says lawmakers need to act quickly to pass the next farm bill. “When faced with regulatory requirements that are indeed good for the environment, it often leads to costly projects,” according to Chason. “Farmers across the nation rely on cost share programs to help them meet the requirements that might otherwise be cost prohibitive for them. And the current farm bill is set to expire in about a month, it’s imperative that as soon as Congress returns in early September, that they prioritize the passage of the new farm bill.”
She encourages all farmers and ranchers to tell their lawmakers the importance of the farm bill. “Call, write and email your Congressmen and Senators. My representatives have told me that they want to hear from their constituents, and that firsthand experiences and personal stories make the biggest impact. Keep it honest and real, be yourself, and just tell your story. And the bottom line is, we all have to work together to get this over the finish line.”
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