Bright Spots for Conservation, Forestry in Senate Farm Bill
ARLINGTON, VA. | June 11, 2018
The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee this week will consider its proposed Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The bill, released last Friday, includes conservation and forestry provisions to fund voluntary, incentive-based sustainability programs for America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest owners that strengthen agricultural and working lands.
“This bill is a win for conservation,” said Lynn Scarlett, co-chief external affairs officer at The Nature Conservancy. “By fully funding the conservation title— the single largest federal funding source for conservation on private lands — this bill creates the best opportunity to incentivize farmers, ranchers and foresters to conserve land and water. It is critical that Congress preserve this proposal in its entirety. The Senate bill would also benefit soil health management practices, provide solid funding for permanent conservation easements, and improve conservation outcomes through collaboration with private sector sustainability initiatives. And, importantly, this Senate bill focuses on broadly supported forest proposals, including extending the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program.”
About half the land in the contiguous United States—nearly 900 million acres—is cropland, rangeland, forestland or pastureland that is eligible for conservation programs funded by the Farm Bill. The bill must be reauthorized every five years.
“Although the Farm Bill is often not recognized as the powerhouse it truly is for conservation and forestry, it provides farmers, ranchers and forest landowners with the tools necessary to protect and conserve not only the land but also their way of life,” said Scarlett. “That’s good for all of us. These programs are in high demand and necessary for ensuring healthy and productive rural lands, clean water, a robust economy and strong communities. These programs also enhance wildlife habitat, provide more outdoor recreation opportunities and increase flood control in communities across America.”
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 72 countries, 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.