American Farmland Trust Joins 214 Organizations in Calling on Congress to Double Conservation Funding
Washington, D.C. – American Farmland Trust joined 214 organizations this week in sending a letter to Congress requesting that they double funding for USDA conservation programs as part of upcoming legislation.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to increase conservation funding,” said Tim Fink, AFT’s Policy Director. “We believe that agricultural land is essential infrastructure for the future of our nation, just as much as any road or bridge, and that any infrastructure improvements should include incentives for private conservation.”
Farm Bill conservation programs provide funding and technical assistance to support farmers and ranchers engaging in implementing voluntary conservation. Programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) help producers adopt practices such as cover crops and rotational grazing, while the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) works with land trusts and state programs to permanently protect agricultural land from development. These programs have a long list of public benefits, including building healthy soil, sequestering carbon, improving water quality, helping farms and ranches become more resilient and profitable, protecting vital agricultural lands, and more.
Unfortunately, conservation program spending has not significantly increased in over a decade, meaning that every year these programs are only able to meet a small fraction of demand. In addition, the pandemic illustrated how critical our nation’s farms and farmland are to our food security. After a year of supply chain disruptions and increased food insecurity, it is imperative that we reinvest in the nation’s producers to build a strong food system that is resilient to everything from a pandemic to climate change.
For more information and background on this opportunity, see this fact sheet.
“American Farmland Trust looks forward to working with Congress and the coalition to help advance this request for increased conservation funding,” said Fink. “This could be a pivotal step in realizing a regenerative and resilient agriculture sector.”