Conservation Groups Call on Congress to Fully Fund Conservation Programs

September 8, 2008 07:00 PM
 

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Groups write appropriators

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


Funding for USDA should be kept at levels signaled by the 2008 Farm Bill. That's the call from the Sustainable Ag Coalition and 15 other conservation groups relative to the fiscal 2009 (FY) ag appropriations levels.

In a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and agriculture subcommittees, the groups noted that conservation programs are historically under funded and the levels in the 2008 Farm Bill "represents a compromise between competing priorities." They further called for the full funding to be preserved in the appropriations process "to preserve this compromise and address as much of the unmet needs for conservation programs across the U.S. as possible."

Following is the text of the letter:

We urge you to retain the fiscal year 2009 funding levels for Farm Bill conservation programs as set in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Conservation programs have been historically under funded relative to the need. There were many competing demands for funds in the 2008 Farm Bill, and the new mandatory funding dedicated to the Conservation Title represents a compromise between competing priorities. Congress strongly supported the final bill, and we believe that it is essential to retain mandatory funding at the levels set in the bill to preserve this compromise and address as much of the unmet needs for conservation programs across the U.S. as possible. We strongly oppose the cuts to Conservation Title programs proposed in the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill (S.3289) and in the amendments to the FY 09 budget request submitted to Congress by the White House on August 1.

Agriculture provides important environmental benefits to the public through applying conservation systems on the land. Farmers are willing to share in the cost of protecting our environment, but currently more than half of farmer applicants are turned away by USDA because of insufficient Federal funding. As a result, we continue to lose thousands of acres of farmland, wetlands, grasslands and private forest lands, and our efforts to clean up rivers, lakes, and bays are falling further behind schedule. The funding levels set for some conservation programs in the 2008 Farm Bill are an important first step towards addressing these problems and it is critical that the funding levels not be reduced in the appropriations process.

We urge you to ensure that the 2008 Farm Bill delivers on its commitment to conservation on our working farms, ranches and forests. The funding levels for conservation in the 2008 Farm Bill must be retained.

American Farmland Trust
American Rivers
National Audubon Society
Center for Native Ecosystems
Defenders of Wildlife
Environmental Defense Fund
Society for Historical Archaeology
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Land Trust Alliance
Pollinator Partnership
Partners for Sustainable Pollination
The Nature Conservancy
Union of Concerned Scientists
Natural Resource Defense Council
National Wildlife Federation
Izaak Walton League of America

 

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


Back to news

Comments

 
Spell Check

No comments have been posted to this News Article

Corn College TV Education Series

2014_Team_Shot_with_Logo

Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!

Markets

Market Data provided by QTInfo.com
Brought to you by Beyer
Close