This story raises some questions in my mind (from the WTAX website that has no direct link to the story):
The state and federal governments are asking certain farmers to stop planting in their fields, and they're doing it with $50 million of taxpayer money.What other industry gets this incentive? Aren’t most polluting businesses told to stop or face fines or be shut down? I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing to pay the farmers, at least in the short run, but it doesn’t seem to me most polluters can get that deal.
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, or CREP, pays farmers near Illinois rivers and their tributaries to let watershed acreage sit idle.
Jim Ross, a conservation program specialist at the Farm Service Agency, says CREP began in 1997, and this is the second year in a row that state government has funded the program.
$10 million in state money will fund the program. Because of that funding, the federal government will kick in $40 million.
Ross says the goal is to set aside farmland that's near Illinois rivers and tributaries. He says that will reduce soil erosion, make better water and air quality, and encourage better wildlife habitat.So the government is paying these farmers not to pollute.