U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), in a bipartisan letter urging USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to develop a department-wide National Water Quality Initiative to prioritize conservation measures in the 2018 Farm Bill to address water quality, according to an article on Iowa Ag Connection.
The letter was also signed by Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
“The 2018 Farm Bill made historic investments in voluntary conservation efforts to address water quality challenges — from the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay to the Mississippi River,” wrote the Senators. “Specifically, the bill reformed and improved all major conservation programs in order to provide new tools to assist farmers, ranchers, and landowners in addressing water quality concerns.”
“We know farmers play an important role as stewards of our land and water,” the Senators went on to write. “In order to maximize the effectiveness of these water quality improvements, we urge you to implement these provisions through a department-wide National Water Quality Initiative, which would build off the existing initiative housed at the Natural Resource Conservation Service.”
In addition to requesting the creation of the new initiative, the Senators also provided recommendations for coordinating implementation of the new water quality priorities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Farm Bill’s conservation investments.