Natural State Coalition, Farm Bill Challenges, and More News
Natural State Coalition Seeks Safe Herbicide Use to Protect Lands
The Natural State Coalition recently launched a campaign to protect Arkansas’ diverse landscapes from continuous damage resulting from overuse of dicamba herbicides. Since 2016, Arkansas’ lands and landowners have suffered injuries repeatedly from dicamba, a herbicide that is difficult to control and habitually volatizes after it has been sprayed, moving into other areas where it damages or kills plants that are not tolerant. The problems with dicamba emerged after the release of soybeans and cotton engineered to be resistant to dicamba which rely on in-crop applications of the herbicide, especially in the warmer months of the growing season which increases its volatility. The Coalition is urging changes in Arkansas’ policy and regulations that will balance agricultural use of dicamba with the need to protect lands and landowners from unnecessary damage from the herbicide. You can learn more about Natural State Coalition here.
Farm Bill 2023 Facing a Deeply Divided Congress
The work of crafting a new Farm Bill began last year and should be picking up steam in 2023 since the current bill is set to expire in September this year. However it is already becoming apparent that reaching a new Farm Bill is likely to be quite challenging as the 118th Congress tries to get underway – simply electing a Speaker has become a historical event with Rep. Kevin McCarty’s bid going through six failed votes so far. And as recent history has shows, passing a Farm Bill in a divided Congress is a mighty tough challenge. Since its original passage in 1933, the Farm Bill has grown into a large, multi-faceted federal spending package that touches almost everyone. The Nutrition title, which includes the various food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) is far and away the largest expenditure under the Bill, accounting for as much as 75% to 80% of government spending in the legislation. Given recent fights over federal spending and the potential of a recession in 2023, a number of Farm Bill programs could be targeted for cuts. And in light of the various ag environmental and conservation incentives created over the last two years, there should be no doubt that conservation programs will continue to be an area of emphasis in the new bill. All of these issues and more will decide whether Congress is able to pass a new Farm Bill or simply extend the old one until another Congress can reach agreement.