April 2, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hannah Packman, 202.554.1600
WASHINGTON – Today, 76 leading farm, conservation and wildlife groups delivered a letter to Congress requesting full funding for conservation programs and technical assistance in fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations.
In the letter, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), National Farmers Union (NFU), National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and other signatories called upon House and Senate appropriators to maintain discretionary United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation funding and reject any cuts to farm bill conservation programs through the FY21 appropriations process.
Farm bill conservation programs, including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), play a vital role in helping farmers, ranchers and landowners keep their lands sustainable and profitable for generations to come. The letter asks lawmakers to maintain the funding for these programs mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill and urges appropriators to fund the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)’s Conservation Operations (CO) account at $840 million, a $10 million increase from FY20. This money facilitates NRCS operations outside of the mandatory farm bill programs.
“Voluntary, incentive-based, locally-led conservation delivery is crucial to responsible management and conservation of the nation’s natural resources,” NACD President Tim Palmer said. “These conservation programs help put more boots on the ground in local communities, where they’re best equipped to make knowledgeable decisions in cooperation with landowners for their individual landscapes.”
“Farmers and ranchers work hard every day to conserve their land,” said Eric Deeble, NSAC Policy Director. “Ensuring that they have the resources and support they need to keep their soil healthy, along with their livelihoods, should always be a priority for Congress.”
“As climate change presents significant financial and environmental challenges for family farmers and ranchers, farm bill conservation programs provide ever-critical support for on-farm mitigation and adaption efforts,” NFU President Rob Larew said. “For these essential programs to operate at full capacity, they must have adequate resources and staff behind them. We urge appropriators to ensure farmers have access to services and assistance they need by providing ample funding for the coming fiscal year.”
“America’s farmers and agricultural producers have a leading role to play in restoring habitat and strengthening conservation outcomes,” NWF Director of Agriculture Policy Aviva Glaser said. “Now is the time for policymakers to redouble our commitments to agricultural conservation programs to help farmers reeling from the recent trade war and the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.”
NACD, NSAC, NFU and NWF stand united with the more than 70 co-signed organizations in urging appropriators to protect funding for critical conservation programs and technical assistance in FY 2021.
About the National Association of Conservation Districts:
The National Association of Conservation Districts is the nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state and territory associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit: www.nacdnet.org.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC):
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: http://sustainableagriculture.net.
About National Farmers Union (NFU):
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice. Learn more at nfu.org.
About the National Wildlife Federation (NWF):
The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, representing six million members and affiliate conservation organizations in 51 states and territories. The National Wildlife Federation works to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. Learn more: http://nwf.org.