Daily News Archive
From October 19, 2001

Bush Backs Plan Encouraging Conservation Farming

The Bush Administration endorsed a plan on Wednesday by Senator Richard Lugar, the senior Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, that will double spending on conservation farming, according to The Washington Post. The plan will also phase out crop subsidies, reduce assistance to cotton and corn growers and increase assistance to farmers raising fruit, vegetables and livestock. Farmers will be given money to buy insurance to protect against drops in revenue to replace the crop subsidies.

Current conventional farming practices incur environmental contamination due to the use of pesticides as well as a devastating loss of precious topsoil. Pesticides applied to crops and fields have poisoned our food and groundwater, human and wildlife tissue. Overuse of pesticides has also caused pesticide-resistant pest populations and more crop losses to pests than ever before. The use of pesticides in farming can affect non-target organisms including beneficial insects and wildlife.

One aspect of sustainable farming is conservation tillage including reduced cultivation, preservation of crop residue and no-till. No-till means there is no soil preparation before the next crop is grown. While this decreases soil erosion, it increases pest problems. Overall pesticide use has been found to increase 30% under no-till agriculture.

However, there are non-chemical solutions to pests even with the use of conservation tillage such as crop rotation, mowing, permanent groundcovers, hoeing and between roe cultivation. The incorporation of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan has also shown to be an effective solution.

See the article on Bush's backing of the plan here.

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