Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) have written to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging him to use his authority to transfer unspent funds to conservation programs that will help agricultural producers and landowners voluntarily improve their farms and private forests by reducing runoff pollution. The senators are asking that previously non-expended funds from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) be directed within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to areas where the need and nutrient reduction opportunity is highest – all of which contribute to the health and wellbeing of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
“Reallocating financial and technical assistance to farmers within the Chesapeake Bay watershed where it will reduce nutrient pollution from their farms will help states meet their Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) water quality goals,” the senators wrote. “The need for additional investment in conservation assistance for farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is more urgent than ever.” NRCS funding provides essential support for farmers to be leading conservationists and to ensure they have the tools they need to improve the health of the Bay.
Senator Casey is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Senators Cardin and Van Hollen are members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Read the letter here.