Dye Creek Preserve, California © Ian Shive
You Spoke Up For the Farm Bill – And It Worked! Thank you!
New Farm Bill is One of the Strongest Ever for Conservation and Forestry
Thanks to dedicated support from people like you, a new farm bill was signed into law in February 2014 with strong conservation and forestry provisions. They include funding for conservation programs, a new regional partnership program to better leverage and achieve conservation results, a “sodsaver” provision to prevent soil loss, a re-linking of conservation compliance to crop insurance premium assistance and the permanent extension of stewardship contracting to encourage collaboration to restore healthy ecosystems.
The farm bill now provides farmers and ranchers with conservation tools that enable growers to do what they want to do—be good stewards of the land. These tools support clean air and water, productive soils, enhanced wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities, increased flood control, stronger local communities and rural economies, and of course, affordable and healthy food.
"Read more below about the policy priorities we asked Congress to include—most of which are in the bill that is now law. You can also see recent comments from our President and CEO, Mark R. Tercek, in his statement after the bill passed and in an opinion column he wrote with the National Corn Growers Association."
Farm Bill: Top Three Priorities
1. Conserve and Restore Key Habitats – Improve the conservation of wetlands, grasslands and private forests by maintaining funding for easements, with a special emphasis placed on permanent easements and the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP) and Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP). Easement Programs are critical to the conservation of wetlands, grasslands, floodplains and private forests.
2. Improve Environmental Management – Enhance the management of private lands through Working Lands Programs, which work by improving stewardship practices and providing technical assistance and cost-share programs on working agricultural and private non-industrial forest lands.
3. Target Key Resource Issues – Direct a higher percentage of Farm Bill funding to address resource issues of special significance in priority landscapes and watersheds, and structure programs to achieve local and landscape-scale environmental benefits. Such focused investments of Farm Bill resources will result in greater conservation outcomes, increased economic benefits and better returns for American taxpayers.
Additional Important Issues
Discourage Conversion of Grazing Lands to Marginal Cropland – A strong Sodsaver program will prevent the conversion of native grasslands to row crops.
Strengthen Conservation Compliance – Linking conservation compliance with crop insurance, as it was before the 1995 Farm Bill, will strengthen conservation compliance to prevent conversion of significant and sensitive habitats, with special emphasis placed on removing incentives to drain wetlands and convert native prairie or grasslands to cropland.