The U.S. Farm Bill funds a $600 billion program administered over 5 years.
Since 1933, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has used farm bills to identify and support a wide array of programs from conservation to food policy to crop insurance. The current farm bill, enacted in 2008, will expire this year, highlighting the urgency of the next bill’s approval.
As corporate member representatives of the Irrigation Association, national projects manager Rick Fowler and innovation manager Vahan Bagdasarian went to Washington, D.C., to address the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture, as well as President Obama’s special advisor on agriculture, Doug McKalip. Fowler also spoke to U.S. secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack about the bill’s importance and the jobs it supports.
“It is important that the bill pass before September,” Fowler said. “If it is not passed, the budget reverts back to the 1940s level of funding.”
Of the bill’s 13 components, the Conservation Title and the funding of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NCRS) are important to Grundfos’ interests. The NCRS oversees the execution of the conservation cost-share activities of farmers and ranchers. They can use the NCRS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to cost share equipment involved in agricultural production, including pumps.
Fowler said EQIP was important to the company because it promotes energy-efficient pumps. He and Bagdasarian met with the chief engineer of the USDA to make Grundfos an approved supplier and vendor.
Agricultural production directly accounts for 70 percent of all pumped water in the U.S. Thus, the availability of reliable, efficient pumping equipment is a vital step toward the country’s goal to achieve energy independence. Although cost share varies by state, the program can provide farmers with up to 75 percent of the cost of new equipment.