At a U.S. Senate hearing leading to the eventual 2012 farm bill, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) positioned increased irrigation efficiency in U.S. agricultural production as a vital effort. Nelson is another voice in favor of keeping the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which could be cut by budget restraints.

Irrigation Association representatives report they have worked with Nelson to showcase the benefits of efficient irrigation to the entire Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. The hearing on May 26 was the start of the planning process for the next-generation farm bill. IA has been working on multiple fronts to ensure programs that fund irrigation upgrades for growers continue to be supported in the 2012 bill.

Programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) offer funds to producers to upgrade to more efficient irrigation systems. IA supports these programs since they not only promote irrigation efficiency but also support the manufacturers and suppliers of those irrigation systems.

“Senator Nelson is a valuable ally to the irrigation industry,” said IA Federal Affairs Director John Farner. “He supports water-use efficiency programs, specifically EQIP, as a workable alternative to increased regulations on U.S. agricultural producers.”

The Irrigation Association will continue to advocate to the entire Agriculture Committee for inclusion of irrigation efficiency incentives in the 2012 farm bill.

To view Senator Nelson’s comments during the hearing, view the video beginning at 54 minutes here.