New Farm Bill a Win for Conservation
Nature Conservancy Urges Congress to Quickly Pass Compromise Proposal
Negotiators from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate unveiled their new Farm Bill proposal, which includes strong conservation and forestry provisions that will benefit American farmers, ranchers, foresters and other landowners. The following is a statement by Kameran Onley, director of U.S. Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy:
“The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 is a win for the American farmer and the conservation of our country’s private lands. The bill’s much-needed boosts in funding for priority conservation programs, combined with important forestry provisions, will give farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners the tools to protect and conserve their land and their way of life. Lawmakers should be commended for their work to reach a compromise that will help keep our farms and rural communities productive and sustainable.
“With just days before the 115th Congress adjourns, this is a win lawmakers can quickly deliver for conservation. For the protection of our lands, waters and the benefits their conservation bring to families, communities and our economy, Congress should pass this Farm Bill by year’s end.”
About half the land in the contiguous United States—nearly 900 million acres—is cropland, rangeland, forestland or pastureland that is eligible for programs funded by the Farm Bill. The bill must be reauthorized every five years, but Congress let the previous version expire on September 30th without an agreement on a new version. Earlier this year, both the House and the Senate passed their own Farm Bill proposals, and negotiators have been working since then to form a compromise proposal.
Today’s bill includes strong conservation provisions that will increase the flexibility and direct resources going toward public-private partnerships and easements. It also extends the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program, which encourages collaboration on science-based restoration of priority forest landscapes.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.