Scott, Thompson spar at House Ag soil hearing
The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing Wednesday on soil health practices and regenerative agriculture.
After the hearing, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott, D-Ga., noted that his first hearing as chairman was on climate change. Scott added, “Our witnesses today provided us with valuable insight to help us better understand the conservation and economic benefits of soil health practices and how they may support various approaches to regenerative agriculture, in addition to the role that healthy soil can play in reduced climate risk.
“Supporting our soil health is nothing new for the federal government,” Scott added. “The hard lessons our industry and country learned through the Dust Bowl led to the creation of the Soil Conservation Service – now the Natural Resources Conservation Service. We cannot ignore the importance of soil health in this way again. As we face ever-growing climate challenges, managing soil health is one of the most effective ways farmers can increase crop productivity and profitability while protecting natural resources.”
But Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., ranking member on the committee, said, “Unfortunately, most of today’s panelists do not represent the breadth of the conservation movement in the United States, but a small minority that wants to define ‘regenerative agriculture’ as only organic. While I support farmers who want to receive a premium through organic agriculture, we cannot let the idea permeate that organic is the only way to be a conservation steward. Attacks on ‘industrial agriculture’ or ‘conventional agriculture’ are divisive and unhelpful.
“Looking towards the next farm bill, I will not sit idly by as we let decades of real bipartisan progress be turned on its head to satisfy people that at their core think agriculture is a blight on the landscape. I have been leaning into the climate discussion, but I will not have us suddenly incorporate buzzwords like regenerative agriculture into the farm bill or overemphasize climate within the conservation or research title, while undermining the other, longstanding environmental benefits that these programs provide.”
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