A covenant to pro­tect the land

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - Jon Scholl, Washington The writer is pres­i­dent of Amer­i­can Farm­land Trust.

The Post char­ac­ter­ized farm­ers as re­ceiv­ing “cash re­wards for prac­tic­ing soil con­ser­va­tion,” but con­ser­va­tion pro­grams are a pub­lic cost-shar­ing ex­er­cise with farm­ers — 98 per­cent of which are fam­ily-owned and -fi­nanced — to pro­vide en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits to the pub­lic at large.

Farm­ers in­cur con­sid­er­able out-of-pocket ex­penses to adopt prac­tices that im­prove water qual­ity and air qual­ity and pre­serve wildlife habi­tat be­yond the bound­aries of their land.

Con­ser­va­tion pro­grams don’t “shift re­sources to agri­cul­ture that might find more ef­fi­cient use else­where.” Rather, they rep­re­sent a covenant be­tween farm­ers and so­ci­ety to stew­ard our na­tion’s re­sources.

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