Farm Bill Issues
A news release yesterday from American Farmland Trust (AFT) stated that, “A national coalition of 56 policy and advocacy organizations is urging Congress to preserve funding for essential U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs and to take additional steps to enhance soil, water quality and wildlife on agricultural land. The coalition outlined a set of key principles [PDF] that lawmakers should observe as they write the Conservation Title of the 2012 farm bill and seek ways to trim the federal deficit.
“The 56 coalition members are asking Congress to:
“- Put a high priority on funding critical conservation programs at the current baseline level of $6.5 billion a year.
– Strengthen and enforce provisions that require farmers to implement basic conservation practices in return for farm subsidies and extend them to insurance subsidies.
– Target conservation dollars where the opportunities for conservation and environmental outcomes are greatest.
– Streamline existing programs by reducing unnecessary administrative burdens and ramp up their effectiveness by linking payments to performance and focusing more on whole-farm and whole-ranch conservation systems.
– Ensure that all segments of the farming community – women, minorities and beginning farmers – have access to funding and technical assistance. “
The AFT release added that, “The 2011 Survey on Agriculture and Environment [PDF] conducted on behalf of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, shows clearly that Americans overwhelmingly view conservation as an important priority in national farm policy and don’t want to see conservation programs cut.”