A state official says the proposed budget – being debated by the full legislature – does value farm conservation. Kathy Pielsticker with DATCP says the bill also retains funding for county conservation workers with a “minimum of reductions.”
“In fact it continues the grant funding to help counties revise plans to preserve farmland; it keeps in place higher tax credits for farmers to meet their conservation compliance responsibilities.”
The state budget had originally proposed wiping out the PACE program which aims to permanently preserve farmland. The Joint Finance Committee however voted to keep funding for the first 16 applicants in the two-year-old program. Farm advocates credit the the success to a “broad coalition of individuals and organizations advocating on behalf of the program.”
Pielsticker spoke on behalf of state Ag Secretary Ben Brancel at a Columbia County farm, which is utilizing PACE program.