WASHINGTON — At a recent hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Barbara Downey, owner of Downey Ranch, Wamego, Kan. testified about conservation priorities in the Farm Bill at the invitation of Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. The hearing was titled, “Conservation and Forestry: Perspectives on the Past and Future Direction for the 2018 Farm Bill.”
“I was pleased to have Mrs. Downey’s testimony and to listen to her support for voluntary conservation programs,” Roberts said. “She and her husband Joe have implemented many innovative conservation practices in their ranching operation and they are an excellent example of the great lengths our producers go to be good stewards of our natural resources.”
In her testimony before the committee Downey said, “The main point I’d like you all to take away from this hearing is that the ‘voluntary’ part of the conservation programs is what truly makes it work for ranchers. We’ve had success using some of these conservation programs, but just because this system works for us does not mean it’s right for everybody. Its important that we keep these programs funded to safeguard their continued success, and above all else – these programs must stay voluntary. A one-size fits all approach that accompanies top-down regulation does not work in my industry. If these programs were to become mandatory, the rules and regulations that farmers and ranchers would be subjected to would make it harder for them to utilize the unique conservation practices that help their individual operations thrive.”
For Audio and Video of Downey’s testimony go here.
Click here to watch Chairman Roberts’ opening statement.
This marks the fifth hearing in preparation for the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization.
–U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
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