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Success in the 2008 Farm Bill
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Policy Outcomes:
Conservation & Farmland Protection Subsidy Reform Local and Healthy Foods Renewable Energy

Strengthened Stewardship Policies


New funding for conservation increased by over $4 billion, which will allow more farmers and ranchers to protect their land, implement new stewardship practices and safeguard our environment.

Over half the land in America is in farms and ranches, and the use of this land to produce food, fiber and energy has an enormous impact on our environment. Farm bill conservation programs are critical to helping farmers and ranchers improve their land and protect our natural resources.

Some of the most significant gains in the farm bill were made in the area of conservation. AFT provided leadership in crafting improvements and securing funding gains for many important programs. Successes include:

  • Improvement of the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)now the Farmland Protection Program—to allow for greater flexibility at the local level. Funding rises from $97 million to $200 million a year in 2012.
  • Enhancement of the Conservation Security Program (CSP)—now the Conservation Stewardship Program—to green farm support on working lands and reward farmers for stewardship. Over $1.2 billion added. 
  • VT FishermanExpansion of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to allow for innovative approaches that generate public benefits such as water and soil quality improvements, renewable energy production, and wildlife and open space protection. Funding rises from $1.2 billion to $1.75 billion in 2012.
  • Establishment of a conservation loan guarantee program to help producers secure low interest loans in order to implement often-costly conservation and environmental practices.
  • Creation of a cooperative conservation initiative as a way for producers and community groups to work together on common natural resource concerns.
  • Greater flexibility with third party technical assistance providers to identify and implement the most effective conservation practices appropriate for the land.
  • Provisions for the Chesapeake Bay, Grassroots Source Water Protection, and Great Lakes programs.
  • Continuation of the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) to protect our water and expand wildlife habitat.
  • Extension of the tax deduction for donated easements to protect more land in the future.
American Farmland Trust