April 12, 2021 by Isabella Colello

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — Several U.S. Congress members representing New York State are urging the United States Department of Agriculture to change conservation standards for farmers in the North Country and across the nation.

Five members of the New York State Congressional Delegation sent a letter to the USDA’ Natural Resource Conservation Service. The letter specifically requested that the NRCS allow farmers to mechanically harvest cover crops and meet standards.

According to Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who lead the letter, this is following a newly released USDA standard stating that cover crops could not longer be mechanically harvested,

In theletter sent on April 8, the group claimed that cover crops allow farmers to improve farm viability, soil health, nutrient management, water quality, greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change adaptation.

Congresswoman Stefanik commented on how this standard impacts North Country farmers.

“Farmers in the North Country have been responsible stewards of the land for generations, and they are experts at implementing conservation practices,” stated Stefanik. “The USDA’s decision to modify this standard is another example of unnecessary government overreach and poses a significant challenge to farmers across the country.”

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