The Senate passed a provision to decrease the payment limit for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program from $450,000 over 10 years to $300,000. This ties the hands of pork producers attempting to implement costly new technologies to manage nutrients on their farms, says Jon Caspers, president of the National Pork Producers Council.

“NPPC fought for the higher payment limit in the 2002 Farm Bill in order to ensure that critical funds would be available for pork producers to comply with federal, state and local environmental regulations,” says Caspers. “Congress’ decision to change the EQIP rules only a year and a half after the bill was passed is a step in the wrong direction. If the Senate is truly concerned about the environment, they are taking away the one tool that will ultimately assist producers in improving their environmental performance.”

The provision was authored by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and included as part of the fiscal year 2004 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.

Congress will now take both versions of the bill to a conference committee to reconcile differences before final passage. NPPC will work to strip this provision out of the final bill during Conference negotiations.

National Pork Producers Council