Farmers across the country are being encouraged to sign up for federal conservation programs. The catch is, as of now, the programs have no funding.
Scott Stuntz reports for Harvest Public Media.
Conservation programs provide thousands of farmers with money to help conserve natural resources -- ease soil erosion or improve water quality.
Normally, funding for these programs is provided by the farm bill. But the farm bill is set to expire at the end of the month.
Larry Beeler is with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He says it takes months to put together an application, so they want to be ready when congress acts.
"We rely on congress to analyze all the financial needs and we will allow them to work through the process and determine those funding levels. And we'll be ready to proceed with producers once we know that," he says.
Last year, conservation programs paid out more than one-and-a-half billion dollars. Beeler says for now the NRCS is assuming that the programs will be funded at similar levels next year.