New Federal Program Rewards Farmers For Conservation Efforts - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Caraway, AR - Shannon Johnson

New Federal Program Rewards Farmers For Conservation Efforts

August 27, 2004 --Posted at 5:30 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- Be nice to Mother Nature and we'll be nice to you. That's what the government is proposing to America's farmers. Some farm owners here in Region 8 are taking them up on the offer.

    The government plays a big role in farming. Rules and regulations tell farmers what they can and can not do with their own land. "I've always resented the government having anything to say about my land unless they brought the privilege," says Congressman Marion Berry. Buying the privilege is exactly what the government is trying to do through the Conservation Security Program. The program allots cash rewards to farmers who are good stewards of their land through efforts, including fuel, water, and soil conservation.

    Eighteen watershed districts were chosen to participate, including the Little River Ditches which stretch from Missouri to Arkansas. Eighty-three farmers from Craighead, Mississippi and Poinsett countie singed contracts with the government  promising to continue their conservation efforts. They will split 1.1 million dollars for doing their best and hope to motivate the rest."That's what we like to think, that this program is going to motivate others to take care of Mother Nature because our life depends on Nother Nature," say farm owner Brandon Finch.

    President Bush has already included $209 million dollars in his 2005 budget for this program. That total is more than five times the current budget.

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