Heitkamp highlights importance of soil health
U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today highlighted how healthy and rich soil is the lynchpin in the success of North Dakota’s agriculture industry during a speech to the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts 2014 Convention.
Heitkamp, an active member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, joined leaders from the state’s soil conservation districts and officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to discuss North Dakota’s worldwide leadership in promoting the value of healthy soil and how the state has used key resources and tools to help monitor and manage its soil health. The 2014 Farm Bill – which Heitkamp helped write, negotiate, and pass into law – places a significant focus on soil health and conservation efforts through several critical programs, which Heitkamp pushed to include in the law. A key piece of North Dakota’s thriving agriculture industry, good soil enables North Dakota’s crops to remain some of the best in the world by regulating water, supporting plant and animal life, managing potential pollutants, cycling nutrients, and providing physical stability to crops and other plants.
“In North Dakota, we’re fortunate to have some of the most prosperous land for farming and ranching anywhere in the world. But this success wouldn’t be possible without daily efforts to support the health of our state’s soil – the true foundation of our agriculture industry,” said Heitkamp. “Our soil – certainly among the best in the nation – allows our farmers to grow their crops effectively, make a living, feed the world, and bolster our state’s economy. It’s essential that we pursue policies and programs that support voluntary conversation efforts, like the ones I supported in the 2014 Farm Bill, to help maintain and promote healthy soil for future generations.”
The 2014 Farm Bill includes a new, more strategic approach to conservation efforts through its Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Since the Farm Bill was signed into law, Heitkamp has worked to make sure it is implemented properly by providing information and resources for North Dakota farmers and ranchers on new programs and policies. In the first month after the Farm Bill passed, she was successful in leading a bipartisan effort to get Secretary Vilsack to expedite the new livestock disaster programs to help ranchers devastated by an unexpected fall blizzard.