BRIDGEVILLE, Del. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) joined Richard and Kathy Carlisle, owners of Pine Breeze Farm, to discuss provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill that have helped them, and other local farmers, increase crop yields, lower production costs and implement best conservation practices. Richard and Kathy farm 1,120 acres near Bridgeville and are winners of the 2019 Governor’s Award for Agriculture Conservation – Sussex County.
“The Carlisles, and many other farmers on the Delmarva, show that you can do good things for the land and make money at the same time,” said Senator Carper, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “At a time when there are reports that the USDA isn’t publicizing its own scientific studies on climate change and frequent extreme weather events and volatile growing seasons, we must continue to show that good science will only help us help our farmers and our country avoid an environmental crisis.”
Richard has been farming since he graduated from college and currently grows corn, grain, soybeans and vegetables, including sweet corn, spinach and edamame. With their entire farm within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the Carlisles are contributing to improved water quality and quantity, soil health and energy efficiency due to their conservation efforts.
The Farm Bill includes an amendment introduced by Senators Carper and Coons that allows farmers in the beginning stages of farming to apply for conservation funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which helps agricultural producers improve operations on their farms – all while protecting the land, air and water quality. The Carlisles use the EQIP program for some of their conservation practices involving irrigation.
Specifically, the 2018 Farm Bill:
- Maintains support for agricultural conservation programs important to Delaware, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), EQIP and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – programs that offer crucial tools to help farmers in Delaware and around the country protect water quality, preserve the land and enhance wildlife habitats
- Includes improvements included in the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act (S.2039) that double funding for the RCPP programs and create additional opportunities for farmers on Delmarva, and throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, to benefit from the program
- Preserves critical food access for millions of families, including thousands of families in Delaware
- Creates new initiatives to make fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable
- Contains zero controversial provisions that weaken critical environmental protections and, as a result, is supported by all major environmental and sportsmen groups, including Defenders of Wildlife, The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, and Trout Unlimited
- Provides funding for farmers markets and organic research
- Develops a new “Harvesting Health” produce prescription program to allow healthcare providers to help low-income patients build healthier diets and access more fruits and vegetables
Representatives from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Sussex Conservation District joined them.