USDA expects to enroll ‘a large number of acres’ in Conservation Reserve

The USDA will hold its first “general” signup for the land-idling Conservation Reserve Program under the 2018 farm bill in early December, and “we expect to enroll a large number of acres,” said Deputy Agriculture Secretary Steve Censky on Thursday.

Booker’s plan: Stewardship on 100 million acres, plant 15 billion trees

Presidential aspirant Sen. Cory Booker proposed a climate change program on Thursday on the scale of FDR’s New Deal to underwrite voluntary soil and water conservation on more than 100 million acres of farmland and the planting of 15 billion trees across the country.

USDA proposes change in rules for greater sage-grouse

The USDA intends by this fall to put in place a revised land management plan for the greater sage-grouse, once a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Peterson challenges USDA on land stewardship offers

Almost as soon as the USDA offered to admit land in need of high-priority stewardship practices into the long-term Conservation Reserve Program, the House Agriculture chairman threatened on Thursday to void the offer. “I am going to stop it somehow or other,” chairman Collin Peterson told two USDA officials.

Rep. Pingree highlights role of farmers in fighting climate change

Maine Democrat Rep. Chellie Pingree rolled out a five-point plan to “support farmers in the fight against climate change,” offering a contrast to the Green New Deal announced earlier this year, which largely sidestepped agricultural issues and came under criticism for not engaging with farmers.(No paywall)

Wildlife group says ethanol mandate should be lowered

The Renewable Fuel Standard, which guarantees biofuels such as corn ethanol a share of the gasoline market, has prompted farmers to plow under wildlife habitat and has contributed to agricultural runoff, said the National Wildlife Federation on Thursday.

Monarch population wintering in Mexico more than doubles

An annual survey of monarch butterflies hibernating in Mexico found that the population was 144 percent higher than it was in 2018. The results, said the World Wildlife Fund on Wednesday, offered “a testament to the power of conservation.”

Tentative hope for a native New York salmon run

An effort is underway in upstate New York to bring back a native run of landlocked salmon, according to FERN’s latest story, with Adirondack Life magazine. The story, by Paul Greenberg, focuses on the work of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife specialist to stock the Boquet River in New York with salmon that will then spawn and migrate into Lake Champlain, which straddles the border of New York and Vermont.

House Democrats want farm bill with stronger stewardship, no SNAP cuts

In a letter to the “big four” farm bill negotiators, 107 House Democrats called for stronger conservation programs in the final version of the bill and said they opposed provisions that would weaken pesticide regulation, interfere with state regulation of agricultural trade, or fundamentally alter the food stamp program.