Having succeeded in protecting funding for the Conservation Title in the 2018 Farm Bill, more than 140 leading farm, conservation, and wildlife groups are once again joining together to protect those hard-fought conservation funding and programs in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process.
In a letter delivered today, the groups — which include the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Farmers Union, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Wildlife Federation, and American Farmland Trust — called upon appropriators to respect the funding decisions made in the 2018 Farm Bill and reject any cuts to farm bill conservation funding through the appropriations process.
Farm Bill conservation programs, including the Conservation Stewardship Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, play a vital role in helping farmers, ranchers, and landowners to keep their lands sustainable and profitable for generations to come.
“The Agriculture Committees listened when farmers told them what they needed to thrive, and now we are asking congressional appropriators to do the same. The farm bill process is closed; appropriators should seek to build upon the foundation laid by the 2018 Farm Bill, not attempt to undercut it. Appropriators have protected these programs in their last two funding bills, and we now ask them to continue to do so in FY 2020,” said Alyssa Charney, NSAC Senior Policy Specialist.
“As America’s farm and ranch families endure significant environmental and economic challenges, it is as important as ever that we maintain funding for voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs,” said Roger Johnson, President, NFU.
“Farm Bill conservation programs are critical to addressing America’s wildlife crisis,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We call on lawmakers to reject any efforts to cut mandatory funding for Farm Bill conservation programs. These effective and widely supported programs give farmers and ranchers the tools they need to voluntarily restore important habitat for wildlife across America’s working lands and proactively recover at-risk wildlife populations.”
In their letter, the 146 organizations also urged appropriators to protect funding for conservation technical assistance.
“Ensuring full funding of CTA and farm bill programs will continue to allow conservation districts to work hand-in-hand with NRCS at the local level to deliver conservation on America’s landscapes,” NACD President Tim Palmer said. “Farm bill conservation programs are essential to our nation’s producers, as well as the consumers of their products. ”
The wide range of organizations signed on to the letter speaks to how significantly any cuts to conservation programs and technical assistance would be felt across the country.