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Farmers Awaiting Updates on $1.5 Trillion Farm Bill
Kentucky Ag Connection - 09/15/2023

The $1.5 trillion Farm Bill, which impacts food production nationwide, is still being debated in Congress, and farmers are waiting for final updates. The bill's funds are divided into four categories, including nutrition, farm commodities, crop insurance, and conservation.

Dr. William Snell, professor of agricultural economics at the University of Kentucky and co-director of the Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program, doubts that legislators will meet the deadline for the bill on Sept. 30. He says that Congress is debating a lot on appropriation bills and whether or not to keep the government funded, which is slowing down the process.

However, Snell is optimistic that the bill will be completed by the end of the year, and he hopes that it will include a $20 billion allocation for conservation farming, including incentives for regenerative agriculture.

Regenerative agriculture is a farming practice that focuses on working in harmony with nature rather than against it. It involves planting diverse crops and improving soil quality, as opposed to row cropping with corn, wheat, and soybeans.

Dr. Navdeep Singh, assistant professor of sustainable agriculture at Western Kentucky University, says that traditional agricultural practices, such as monoculture, can deplete soil quality over time. Regenerative agriculture, on the other hand, can help to improve soil health and sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Willie Huston, owner of Pick 'n' Grin Farms in Rockfield, has been practicing regenerative agriculture for the last eight years. He has removed invasive species and planted biodiverse wildflowers and crops. He also rotationally grazes his hogs throughout his grasses and forests.

Huston believes that regenerative agriculture has many benefits, including healthier crops, improved soil health, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. He says that the results of his practice speak for themselves.

Huston's story is just one example of how regenerative agriculture can benefit farmers and the environment. As the Farm Bill is debated in Congress, farmers and advocates are hoping for incentives that will help to make regenerative agriculture more widespread.

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