Riverland Community College in Austin is giving area farmers a chance to give feedback on some conservation programs and other agriculture-related topics.
The first of two public forums that let people talk about agriculture-related issues took place Wednesday. The listening session let people discuss a wide array of topics such as conservation and even the federal Farm Bill and buffering. The session was meant to allow farmers and land owners give feedback about regulations.
People who work in agriculture came out to Riverland Community College in Austin to discuss federal Farm Bill conservation programs. The Mower Soil and Water Conservation District and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service hosted a local work group meeting. The public had an opportunity to learn about conservation programs and give some input about how the programs are delivered in Mower County. People also talked about setting priorities for local conservation practices and how some of the practices could be made better.
"What we're doing locally today is giving our farmers an opportunity to provide input back to the farm program process and in a meaningful way," says SWCD District Manager Justin Hanson, "They have an opportunity to shape some scoring priorities in some areas and focus some projects and practices that we should be doing locally to serve the farm community better."
Local farmers also came out to discuss another topic of interest in the area. Farm buffers have been important for area farmers for a while.
"I would encourage farmers if they aren't in compliance now, just check and see how much ground you're going to lose because there was programs out there if they got it on the ball they can put it in CRP, which is paying more now than what it has in the past." suggests Mower County farmer Randy Smith.
Other topics people at the session talked about included the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Conservation Reserve Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, and the Wetland Reserve Program.
Riverland will be hosting another opportunity for people to provide input on agricultural programs later this month. On April 25th, staff for U.S. Senator Tina Smith will host a listening session dealing with the 2018 Farm Bill.