SENATE’S COMPANION BILL WOULD IMPROVE ACCESS TO CONSERVATION ASSISTANCE
WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2016 – The National Association of Conservation Districts is pleased to support the recent introduction of S. 3288, a companion bill to H.R. 5451 that would eliminate unnecessary and costly reporting requirements for American producers who participate in voluntary conservation programs.
“Farmers have a lot of work to do, and every second they’re stuck inside completing reporting requirements is time they can’t devote to making their living,” said NACD President and Maryland farmer Lee McDaniel.
“The toughest part to chew about these requirements from NACD’s perspective is that the producers that have to comply with these rules are the same people who are most committed to implementing conservation practices on their land. Giving them extra paper to push isn’t helping them, and it certainly isn’t helping the environment,” he added.
Current law requires any business entity – including farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners – to register with the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM) and obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to receive financial assistance from federal agencies like the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Mandating that farmers and ranchers comply with these time-consuming requirements complicates conservation delivery and can discourage landowners from participating in NRCS cost-share programs.
The Senate’s “Improving Access to Farm Conservation Act,” cosponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar. D-Minn., and John Boozman, R-Ark., would exempt landowners from the SAM and DUNS requirements, thereby improving landowner access to NRCS’ voluntary conservation programs.
“The best conservation on the ground today was put there through voluntary efforts by American producers,” NACD CEO Jeremy Peters said. “It’s time we recognize that and remove the barriers to participating in NRCS’ incentive-based programs, starting with the SAM and DUNS requirements.”
The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit: www.nacdnet.org.