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URGENT ACTION NEED TO SUPPORT THE CONSERVATION SECURITY PROGRAM(CSP)

  • Subject: [cg] URGENT ACTION NEED TO SUPPORT THE CONSERVATION SECURITY PROGRAM(CSP)
  • From: Laura Berman laura@foodshare.net
  • Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 13:33:58 -0500

Hi ACGA folks,
I'm passing this on, so please don't respond to me--I'm in Canada!
Thanks,
Laura

---------------
Laura Berman
Community Agriculture Coordinator
FoodShare Toronto

 



Alert from the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture concerning the
Conservation Security Program (CSP), the most promising program for NE
farmers to come down the federal pike in a long time.

We've got 17 days left to shape and show public support for this
Important new program.  So send an e-mail today and spread the word far and
wide in your own e-mail networks.

Together we can make a difference!

Roger Doiron
Regional Organizer
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG)


---------------------

National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
www.SustainableAgriculture.net

URGENT ACTION NEED TO SUPPORT THE CONSERVATION SECURITY PROGRAM (CSP)
(3.3.03)

Public Comment Deadline is March 20th

The Conservation Security Program (CSP) was the single biggest win for
sustainable agriculture in the 2002 Farm Bill.  It is a huge and
innovative
step forward in our nation's approach to conservation, and holds great
promise for rewarding farmers based on how they protect and improve the
environment.


We want a full and quickly implemented Conservation Security Program-and
now
is the crucial time to send that message loud and clear.  USDA's Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has asked for general public input
on
the program, in the form of an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.


The letter below is a sample-please add one or two points of your own,
expand on a particular point, or add a personal story or comment.  The
sample letter is also readily available on our website at
http://www.sustainableagriculture.net/cspAction.php, from which you can
easily use, modify and send the letter on-line, whenever you like.  To
send
in our standard email comments with your name and email address
attached,
simply reply to this message, sending the entire message back to
alerts@sustainableagriculture.net.

Email, as well as snail mail, comments are welcomed.  You may email
comments
to FarmBillRules@usda.gov and in subject line write "Attn: Conservation
Security Program." Regular mail should be sent to the address on the
sample
letter below.  Be sure to send in early enough for arrival at USDA no
later
than March 20th.

For more information on CSP, visit
http://www.sustainableagriculture.net/CSP.php,
www.landstewardshipproject.org/programs_csp.html, or www.mnproject.org.
Information is also available from NRCS at
www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill/2002/products.html.  The same site
also
provides access to the Advanced Notice, or you can call NRCS at
202-720-1845
and ask for a copy to be sent to you.

The Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (SAC) has prepared a full,
detailed
set of comments on the Advanced Notice.  All groups and individuals are
encouraged to endorse those comments in their letters as well.  These
comments are available via the first three websites named above, or will
be
sent to you by request from SAC at sac@msawg.org.

Sample Letter:

(NOTE:  It is always most effective to send a personalized letter, with
some
of your own words and personal comment, so this sample letter has
sections
in ALL CAPITALS that are notes to help you personalize the letter.
However,
we know folks are busy.  If the only way you'll send in comments is to
email
an already completed letter, simply reply to this message. Otherwise,
please
review the letter below and add the information suggested before sending
it
in to NRCS.   Thank you!)

iNSERT DATE

Mark W. Berkland
Director, Conservation Operations Division
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
P.O. Box 2890
Washington, D.C. 20013-2890

RE: Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Conservation Security
Program, published in the Federal Register on 2/18/03 (Fed. Reg. Vol.
68, No
32, pages 7720-7722)

Dear Mr. Berkland:

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND SAY IF YOU ARE A FARMER, CONSERVATIONIST,
CONSUMER, ETC. AND MENTION ANY FARM, CONSERVATION, OR OTHER RELEVANT
GROUPS
YOUR BELONG TO.  IF YOU ARE SUBMITTING THE COMMENT ON BEHALF OF AN
ORGANIZATION, PLEASE INCLUDE A BRIEF DESCRIPTION ABOUT THE GROUP.

The Conservation Security Program promises to be the most innovative and
exciting program in the federal agricultural conservation toolbox and a
critical new component of U.S. farm policy.  I (WE) urge you to ensure
that
the program fulfills its promise.

Many of us have advocated for years for a program such as this, which
rewards conservation farmers who have been doing what\'s right all along
and
encourages them to do more.  Conservation farmers provide many benefits
to
all Americans in the form of clean air, clean water, habitat and soil
protection, and more.  The CSP should recognize and reward actual
conservation benefits produced by farmers on their farms and provide
incentives for farmers to address and solve critical resource problems.
I
agree with the NRCS statement that, "In short, CSP should reward the
best
and motivate the rest."

The Administration should make the Conservation Security Program a major
priority.  I (WE) urge you to:

1.  Accelerate the rule making process and launch the CSP in time to
allow
for significant enrollment opportunities in Fiscal Year 2003.  The
statutory
deadline for writing rules to implement the CSP has already passed.

2.  Ensure immediate implementation on a comprehensive, nationwide
basis.
The CSP is intended for all regions of the country and all types of
agriculture.

3.  Uphold and defend the CSP\'s status as a conservation entitlement
program, as the law requires.  Once producers meet the strict
requirements
for approval of their conservation plan, they should be enrolled in a
contract - no delays, selection processes, bidding systems, or waiting
lists.

4.  Require strong conservation and environment standards, and reward
strong
environmental performance.  Positive environmental outcomes achieved by
innovative producers should be a major objective of the CSP.

5.  Retain the per farm payment limitations required by the law. Allow
only
one Conservation Security Contract per individual, with no loopholes or
exceptions, and strict enforcement.

6.  Support restoration of full funding.  The recently signed omnibus
appropriations bill caps the CSP at $3.77 billion through 2013.  We urge
you
to give strong support to the bipartisan Senate leadership commitment to
remove this cap in upcoming legislation and restore the program to its
full
uncapped 2002 Farm Bill funding.

I (WE) would like to associate myself (OR MY GROUP) with the detailed
comments submitted in response to the Advanced Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking
on behalf of the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  I (WE) concur with
their answers to your questions and endorse their recommendations.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME (AND ORGANIZATION, IF APPLICABLE) HERE

_________________________
Please also take a minute to send us an e-mail at
action@sustainableagriculture.net to let us know you submitted comments,
or
send a hard copy to National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, P.O.
Box
396, Pine Bush, NY 12566.   Thank you!


AlertID=csp19376




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