A video from December 2016:
Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, and Mary Berry in Conversation
With regard to our traditional energy economy…The party is over! (Wes)
With regard to our economy…we accept no limits…an economy built on explosives and toxins. (Wendell)
With regard to the local food movement…it has been going on for 40 years and the divide between urban and rural has grown greater. (Mary)
With regard to a future economy…Developing an economy as a way of taking proper care. (Wendell)
Lastly, Wendell had a very nice thought on ‘natural integrity’.
On February 18, Republicans in the House of Representatives defeated an obscure amendment to the House Appropriations bill by a 2-to-1 margin. The Kind Amendment would have eliminated $147 million dollars that the federal government pays every year directly to Brazilian cotton farmers. In an era of nationwide belt tightening, with funding for things like education and the U.S. Farm Bill on the chopping block, defending payments to Brazilian farmers may seem curious.
I just heard a brief NPR report concerning Barack Obama’s new media campaign to reintroduce himself to the American public. They played an excerpt commenting on his upbringing in Kansas. I found myself reflecting on my childhood in Kentucky…playing by woods and fields, splashing in creeks and streams (while avoiding the feared copperheads), and running through the most amazing and vast farmlands. I built forts in hayfields, chased down horses (the slow ones), and basically loved the outdoors.
My home was often uncomfortable (no need for the details), so I made ‘spaces’ for my life in nature.
I’m sitting here many years later…. on a week where I’ve hardly seen any nature. Meetings and writing with the computer have consumed my week. My wife just picked up a package of seeds…and it relaxed my mind.
I’m certain it’s hard for Mr. Obama (and Mr. McCain)…we aren’t in Kansas anymore.
Some notes from the week.
Heard from USDA that they will soon be moving forward with the 2008 Farm Bill ecosystem services initiatives…assessment protocols, etc. I initially thought there would be other priorities…but this is going to get immediate attention.
There will be some interesting changes in NRCS programs in the new rulemaking…and some improvements in how they handle operating (and other) funds. This should be helpful to our local NRCS folks…who work hard at sometime confusing tasks. I’m glad for them.
John Phipps got his last 300 acres of beans planted. He’s very lucky…I listened to the crop analyst today at lunch and we’re in for some serious trouble.
Dinner is ready…more next week.
The Farm Bill has finally been passed, vetoed, and veto-overridden. It’s a law!…or at least all of it except for that little 30 page clerical error.
So what does it say about ecosystem service markets? Here’s the news from USDA:
The farm bill governs federal farm, food, and conservation policy and is renewed every five years. The last farm bill, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, underwent a series of extensions while Congress debated a new bill. On May 22, 2008, Congress overrode the President’s veto on 2007 farm bill legislation, enacting the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (PDF, 1.4 MB) into law. The new farm bill was assembled to include fifteen titles: commodity programs, conservation, trade, nutrition, credit, rural development, research, forestry, energy, horticulture and organic agriculture, livestock, crop insurance and disaster assistance, commodity futures, and miscellaneous provisions, and trade and tax provisions. However, the trade title was omitted from the farm bill legislative package due to a clerical error – Congress will respond to this error over the coming weeks.
The new Farm Bill takes a first step towards facilitating landowner participation in emerging markets for ecosystem services. Section 2709 of the conservation title requires USDA, in consultation with other agencies and interests, to “establish technical guidelines that measure the environmental services benefits from conservation and land management activities.” These guidelines will be used in the development of measurement and reporting protocols and registries. Section 2709 also calls for a verification process and guidelines for reported conservation and land management activities.