CFO Released! (fwd)

Victor Guest vic at
Fri Apr 3 10:08:46 EST 1998

>Today USDA released the CFO proposed rules, and simultaneously opened a 
>application period.
>Attached below is a press release from MSAWG.  Note the appropriations 
>for 1999 (second year) and contact Congress if you can.  Contact Brad
>DeVries at
>MSAWG at (202) 547-5754, or email at bdevries at if you would like
>to do
>this as a local press release.
>You can find the Federal Register notice at
>Federal register. Search today's date (4/2/98) or "Conservation Farm Option
>(I'll find and email you this if it is not too long.)
>CFO applications are available at your local (county) USDA offices.
>> ******************************************
> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ferdinand Hoefner
> April 1, 1998 Brad DeVries
>  (202) 547-5754
>Washington, D.C.  The Sustainable Agriculture Coalition today applauded the
>release of guidelines for the new Conservation Farm Option, but warned
>not to hobble the effort with severe budget cuts before it even gets off the
>ground.  The Conservation Farm Option (CFO), which will appear in tomorrow's
>Federal Register, will give farmers with commodity program acres tremendous
>flexibility in using federal conservation assistance to achieve a broad
>range of
>environmental improvements in their farming operations.
> "We've waited a long time for farmers to get the chance to make federal
>conservation programs fit their environmental goals, rather than the other way
>around," said Ferdinand Hoefner, Washington Representative for the Sustainable
>Agriculture Coalition (SAC).  "The CFO opens the door to a wave of
>innovation in
>crops and livestock that could change the way both farmers and the
>Department of
>Agriculture look at conservation.  It would be unbelievably short-sighted
>for a
>Congress that claims to support flexibility and enterprise to kill this
>initiative in its infancy."
> The Conservation Farm Option, created in the 1996 Farm Bill, will encourage
>farmers, organizations, and local governments to propose integrated
>solutions to
>environmental challenges on a farm or in a particular region. As the first
>federal conservation program to explicitly promote sustainable agricultural
>practices and systems, the CFO will offer 10-year contracts to farmers that
>combine assistance from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Wetlands
>Program (WRP), and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  The CFO
>will feature considerably more flexibility than the larger programs, and is
>designed to reward innovation in conservation program design, farm practices,
>and technology.  In particular, it will be ideal for experimenting with whole
>farm planning, utilizing long-term resource conserving crop rotations, and
>engaging in on-farm research and demonstration activities.
>Action by the House Appropriations Committee, however, endangers the initiative
>before it can even get off the ground.  The House's version of the
>Appropriation bill cuts the CFO budget nearly in half; the Senate bill has no
>such provision.  Program supporters argue that cuts of this magnitude would
>severely limit the CFO's ability to attract competitive, cost-effective
>"There's a huge amount of interest in resource-conserving crop rotations,
>particularly in areas like Kansas' Delaware River Basin, where reduced or
>non-chemical weed control methods are getting a closer look," said Ed
>a Goff, Kansas farmer.  "The CFO is a great opportunity to bring farmers
>together to work on innovative crop rotations and other conservation systems."
>Once the proposed rule appears in the Federal Register, it will be open for
>comment for sixty days.  At the same time, the Department of Agriculture
>will be
>soliciting CFO proposals from farmers, local governments and non-profit
>Through 2002, the CFO will provide about $200 million in financial assistance,
>and  should make its first round of awards by early summer.
>The Sustainable Agriculture Coalition represents a group of twelve nonprofit,
>farm, food, environmental, and rural organizations, which advocate public
>policies supporting the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of
>agriculture, natural resources and rural communities.  The Coalition works
>within the broader Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.
>Loni Kemp    lkemp at
>Senior Policy Analyst, The Minnesota Project
>RR 1 Box 81B Canton, MN 55922 (507)743-8300  Fax same

Nancy Grudens Schuck
Doctoral Candidate

Department of Education
119 Kennedy Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853

E-mail: ng13 at
FAX: (607) 255-7905


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