On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a drought relief package (HR 6233) in response to the dry conditions plaguing many U.S. states. Congress has an impending deadline of September 30, to extend or reauthorize the 2008 Farm Bill. HR 6233 cuts roughly 20 percent in mandatory funding from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and trims approximately 26 percent from the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to pay for the drought aid. These reductions represent previously enacted appropriations levels.
Congress has departed for the August recess and whether both chambers can agree on a reauthorization or extension of the current Farm Bill when they return in September remains to be seen. If Congress does not act, conservation programs such as EQIP and CSP will continue through FY14 as the programs were extended as part of the FY12 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 112-55).