generation farmer discusses Farm Bill with Miss. delegation
CLARKSDALE, Miss., May 29, 2007 -
Coahoma County farmer, Taylor Flowers, Jr. traveled to Washington D.C. last
week to meet with representatives, senators and other policymakers about
reauthorizing Farm Bill conservation programs, among them the Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program. Flowers met individually with
Miss. Reps. Chip Pickering, Gene Taylor, Bennie Thompson, and Roger Wicker, and
Miss. Senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott and their staff.
Flowers, accompanied by Ducks Unlimited staff, and several
other U.S. landowners and farmers encouraged Congress to support a strong
conservation title in the 2007 Farm Bill.
“I made this trip to Capitol Hill so our members of Congress
could hear firsthand from farmers like me about the importance of maintaining a
balance of well-funded conservation and commodity programs in the next Farm
Bill,” said Flowers.
Flowers grows corn, soybeans,
cotton and wheat on a family farm near Dublin. Flowers and his family are
dedicated to conservation of Mississippi’s natural resources and participate in
the Conservation Reserve Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives
Program, two of the Farm Bill’s conservation programs.
Ducks Unlimited’s motto during the
crafting of the next federal Farm Bill is “Farm the best, conserve the rest.”
Farm Bill conservation programs allow farmers to do just that.
“Letting our representatives in Washington know that their
constituents are informed and concerned about the future of the Farm Bill is
one of the best ways to ensure its reauthorization,” said Ross Melinchuk
director of public policy for DU’s Southern Regional Office.
The Farm Bill conservation programs
provide lump sum or annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to restore
marginal cropland to its former wetland or natural condition. The Conservation
Reserve Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program help control soil erosion,
improve water and air quality, and enhance wildlife habitat. The widely popular Wetlands Reserve Program
is not authorized beyond this year and will go un-funded unless Congress acts
to both reauthorize and fund the program in the 2007 Farm Bill. With 160,000
acres enrolled in the Wetlands Reserve Program, Mississippi ranks third in the
“About five years ago I enrolled
some low yield farm land in the Conservation Reserve Program. Now we enjoy the
waterfowl, deer and quail hunting opportunities made possible by the cover on
that land,” said Flowers.
As part of the restoration, trees
were planted on Flowers’s land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.
The conservation contract guarantees protection of this land for fifteen years.
Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Flowers further
helps to conserve soil and water on his farm.
After the existing contracts
expire, Flowers intends to keep his property enrolled in these programs if the
conservation provisions in the 2007 Farm Bill make it economically feasible.
With more than a million
supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland
and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved.
The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands -
nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000
wetland acres each year.
Look for Ducks Unlimited on the
World Wide Web at www.ducks.org.
Tune into “The World of Ducks Unlimited” Radio Network
and watch “Ducks Unlimited
Unlimited WaterDog” on the Versus network.