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Conservation director: Rural America will feel effects of no new farm bill

BY CLAY POPE Published: December 30, 2012

In the meantime, the drought continues. The conservation provisions of this bill are desperately needed if we're going to continue to hold back the ravages of soil erosion. We've yet to see dust storms like those in the 1930s, largely because of the work done by farmers and ranchers using farm bill conservation programs. We've seen smaller storms, however, including those in northern Oklahoma and Lubbock, Texas, that resulted in closed interstates and highway fatalities. If this drought continues and if we fail to reauthorize these programs, this will only get worse.

The House and Senate agriculture committees have offered up legislation that supports rural America while reducing the size of government. Who else has done this? Just agriculture. We're willing to do our part to save money while keeping rural America running. Unfortunately, some in Congress can't take yes for an answer.

So while the calendar turns and we face an uncertain new year, we're left asking Congress this: Will you take us over the cliff or will you do what's right and pass the farm bill?

Pope is executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts.