Benefit trumps precedent in debate to keep SWCD position in Chenango

NORWICH – Local funding that will allow the Chenango County Soil and Water Conservation District to maintain one department position was approved last week by the county Board of Supervisors, but not without stern debate among local officials.

For 15 years, the Chenango County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has relied on federal funding through the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative to support a position that provides certain services to local farmers. These services play a key role in helping local farmers better understand environmental guidelines handed down by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and how farmers can meet such regulations.

But with Sequestration and threats of additional funding cuts in the heavily contested Farm Bill - currently held up in the U.S. House of Representatives - the SWCD has sustained its own federal funding cuts, rendering it unable to maintain the position that’s pivotal in advising farmers of EPA guidelines.

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