Washington, D.C. - As USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) works to finalize farm bill changes to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has sent a letter to FSA Administer Fordyce calling for key water quality improvements and is releasing the following statement:
"Farmers are the original stewards of the land and our shared resources, and it is critical that we ensure they have the tools and financial support they need to do this important work. This is especially true when it comes to protecting and enhancing water quality. That’s why as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I made sure that the 2018 Farm Bill included key improvements to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to benefit water quality. We were able to establish the Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers (CLEAR) Initiative to target funding to practices like buffers and filter strips that benefit quality. I also secured key improvements to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), which is critical in Pennsylvania and across the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware River watersheds to support partnership agreements that invest in farmers and regional stewardship goals. Now that USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has published an interim rule to update the regulations that guide the implementation and delivery of conservation assistance through CRP, I have sent a letter [link to letter] urging FSA to make important improvements in the final rule to reflect Congressional intent and support farmers and partners in their efforts to improve water quality and other key natural resources. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to strategically invest in conservation in Pennsylvania and across the Nation. CRP and other conservation programs offer enormous benefits for our farmers, environment and rural economies. I will continue to work with USDA to ensure that farmers and our shared natural resources benefit from the important updates that we made to these programs through the 2018 Farm Bill."
Read the letter here.