U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have announced $250,000 in federal funding for Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The grant – which comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – will be used to research what motivates Maryland farmers to adopt conservation practices and to identify the barriers that prevent farmers from adopting them. Specifically, the funding will allow Johns Hopkins to investigate precisely how risk factors inform the way farmers view the costs and benefits of participating in conservation programs. Results of their study will provide much-needed insight into how environmental programs can be more helpful and worthwhile for our nation’s farmers.
“This funding is a smart, targeted federal investment in our farmers and in our environment,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works. “Supporting farmers begins with listening to them and understanding their needs and challenges. Johns Hopkins’ research will help us hear them loud and clear, all while providing us the feedback we need to make our agricultural conservation programs more effective and efficient. That’s a win-win for Maryland and all those who support environmentally sound farming practices.”
“To help our farmers be successful while also protecting the environment, we have to understand the challenges they face as they work in this vital industry to Maryland’s economy,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This grant will help programs better meet the needs of Maryland farmers as we all work together to protect the Bay and our environment.”
NIFA is charged with advancing agricultural research and education, as well as promoting solutions to challenges faced by our nation’s agricultural community. As a subset of the USDA, they work to design and provide incentives for farmers to adopt conservation practices.