Michigan farmers tout Conservation Reserve Program to Washington, D.C. lawmakers

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From left: DU's Gildo Tori, Michigan Rep. Candice Miller, and Munger landowners DeAnn and James Sattelberg.

Washington – Dec. 3, 2015 – Munger landowners James and DeAnn Sattelberg traveled to the nation's Capital on Wednesday to tell lawmakers how the Conservation Reserve Program has benefited their farm and the surrounding environment.

The Sattelbergs established Everbest Organics nearly 18 years ago in southeast Bay County, Michigan, growing certified organically grown grains and beans. Today nearly 320 acres of their 2,500 acre, fifth-generation family farm, Bay Shore Farms, is dedicated to the Conservation Reserve Program.

Administered through the Farm Service Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality in exchange for a yearly rental payment.

"We were raised on farms, and I recognize the feeling about feeding the world," said DeAnn Sattelberg. "But you shouldn't destroy your environment to feed the world. We are the first ones who drink the local water."

The Sattelbergs don't farm the edges of their fields, creating a natural buffer zone that separates them from the local waterways which feed into Saginaw Bay. The buffer zone also keeps any surrounding chemicals away from their organic operations. "It's really important to keep the water systems free from runoff, whether from farms or livestock" Sattelberg said.

The Sattelbergs and other landowners from across the country were invited by Ducks Unlimited to attend a 30th anniversary celebration of the Conservation Reserve Program in Washington. The Sattelbergs spoke with numerous Congressional representatives and staff members about the program's benefits.

Ducks Unlimited was one of 25 conservation and agriculture organizations sponsoring the 30th anniversary celebration, which thanked members of Congress and the administration for their continued support for this program.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.