The Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) doesn’t mince words when it comes to conservation programs in the next Farm Bill.

“We talk about what needs to be included or excluded in the farm bill and that is a red line for me. We’re simply not going to get ourselves in a situation where we have a farm bill that makes it such that you have to be climate-friendly enough to participate in the risk management tools, conservation-friendly enough,” he said. “So, these need to be voluntary. And that, again, is so very important. So, I want to assure your listeners that if I have anything to do with it, I simply can’t support a farm bill that goes down that path.”

He says smaller producers would be the most affected by mandatory conservation.

“We’ve seen what happens when you do that in the Netherlands and Germany. And the places where it really wreaks the most havoc are with the small producers. The big boys are going to be able to, they’ll come up with the regulatory atmosphere that they need. They’ll hire the people they need to keep track of all this,” he said. “It’s the small producers which we desperately are trying to help again to make viable rural America. They’re the ones that will really struggle and simply not going to be able to do it because of the regulatory atmosphere that they’ll have going forward with something like that.”

When asked about the timeline for the new farm bill, Boozman said he doesn’t expect it to be done by the time the current bill expires in September, but he does think it could be done this year.

Boozman was in Fargo, North Dakota, for a Farm Bill round table meeting with agricultural leaders.

Click below to hear Sabrina Halvorson’s radio news report for Michigan Ag Today.