Farmers Routinely Closed out of Conservation Programs, Says Report

A new report from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) finds that 67% of farmers who applied to access critical government conservation programs from 2010-2020 were rejected, due in part to lack of funding. Report findings underscore that rising farmer demand to access programs that respond to the climate crisis, build soil health and protect water quality is not being met. The report, Closed out: How U.S. farmers are denied access to conservation programs, by IATP’s Michael Happ, examines farmer application rate of approvals for two critical conservation programs: The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The report found that nationally, over the last decade, 69% EQIP applications and 58% of CSP applicants were rejected. The decline in approved CSP applications is connected partially to the 2018 Farm Bill, which put CSP funding on a downward trend, with nationwide funding for the program as high as $2.3 billion in 2019 and projected to decrease to $1.4 billion in 2023.