Huron, S.D. (KELO AM) - South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) President Doug Sombke issued the following statement in response to a recent story by the Associated Press that blames biofuels for conservation losses.
“The story incorrectly blames biofuels for the loss of conservation,” said SDFU President Doug Sombke, “There are numerous factors that have led to the depletion of acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the most important of which is the failure of Congress to adequately support and fund conservation programs in the farm bill.”
Both the House-passed and Senate-passed farm bills cut the conservation title by $4.8 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively. Both versions would also decrease CRP enrollment from 32 million to 24 or 25 million acres nationwide, a cut of over 7 million acres.
“Conservation should be a top priority in the farm bill, but it is always the first to be cut,” said Sombke. “Farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of their land, but they also need to support their family on the land that they do have. Without strong conservation programs in the farm bill and support from Congress, a farmer and rancher can only do so much.”
Sombke said that biofuels and conservation practices can work together.
“Biofuels are not a part of the problem, they are part of the solution,” said Sombke. “Biofuels are a clear alternative to oil that can be grown locally, support our rural economies, and clean up the environment. Cellulosic ethanol production also has the potential to supplement and integrate with current conservation practices."