(HARRISBURG, PA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's (CBF) Pennsylvania Senior Scientist, Harry Campbell, issued the following statement in response to just passed legislation by the House that supplies drought-stricken farmers with temporary funding support, but at a cost to farmers in the Chesapeake Bay region. CBF calls for the House to pass a meaningful five-year Farm Bill that benefits all farmers.
"While we understand the impact the drought is having on livestock farmers in parts of the country and empathize with them, CBF believes the House of Representatives has made a serious mistake. As passed, this legislation compensates cattle and sheep ranchers, fish farmers, and beekeepers for drought losses and pays for it by taking away vital conservation funding from farmers in the Chesapeake Bay region and elsewhere in the nation. Instead of this approach, Congress should pass a full five-year Farm Bill that addresses drought relief and the needs of Pennsylvania farmers.
"Senator Casey has been a steadfast supporter of Pennsylvania farmers and has fought for continued conservation funding in the Farm Bill. These funds support programs that are vital to farmers, who, without this support would be left to foot the entire bill for on-farm conservation improvements. Conservation funding helps bring Pennsylvania closer to local and regional clean water goals while also helping our farmers remain economically viable.
"Just yesterday, Senator Casey joined eight other Senators from the region in urging the House to pass a full five-year Farm Bill that would provide comprehensive drought relief without taking funding from conservation programs to do it. We thank Senator Casey for standing up for Pa. farmers, and urge him and the other Senators to continue their support for conservation funding and to ensure that Congress approves a five-year Bill, not short-term band aids. Farming is a challenging business to be in, let's not make hard times worse by 'robbing Peter to pay Paul.'
"Let's instead provide our farmers with stable policies that provide the necessary assistance for all."