Senate Farm Bill Passage a Win for Conservation
ARLINGTON, VA. | June 28, 2018
The U.S. Senate today passed its proposed Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The bill includes conservation and forestry provisions to fund voluntary, incentive-based sustainability programs for America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest owners that strengthen agricultural lands and rural communities.
The following is a statement by Kameran Onley, director of U.S. Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy:
“Today's passage represents an important step in charting the course for conservation over the next several years. The bill includes many strong provisions for conserving private lands and waters, including solid funding for permanent conservation easements and improvements to conservation outcomes through collaboration with private sector sustainability initiatives. The bill also fully funds the conservation title and offers broadly supported forest provisions, including an extension of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program.
“These are all important proposals that should be included in the final Farm Bill. The robust conservation investment this bill calls for will benefit farmers, ranchers, foresters and landowners that need healthy, productive lands and waters for their way of life. Now that both the House and Senate have passed their own proposals, we encourage lawmakers to work together in conference to preserve the best elements of both bills in the final Farm Bill.”
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, with the current bill set to expire Sept. 30.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed its own Farm Bill, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. The bill includes strong conservation provisions that will increase the flexibility and direct resources going toward public-private partnerships and easements, but also proposals to undercut environmental reviews that, if enacted, could jeopardize the health of forest ecosystems.
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.