NACD CEO TELLS HOUSE LAWMAKERS WHAT’S NEEDED IN UPCOMING FARM BILL
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2017 – The CEO of the National Association of Conservation Districts, Jeremy Peters, testified on behalf of the membership association today in a House subcommittee hearing on the next farm bill – a critical piece of legislation that underpins a sizable portion of voluntary conservation work in the United States.
“Today, our nation’s conservation delivery system reaches into virtually every community,” Peters told members of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry. “The voluntary-incentive based model has and continues to work to ensure our nation’s natural resources are protected.”
In his opening statement, Peters explained that conservation districts provide a crucial public service by offering on-the-ground conservation planning and tailored technical assistance to landowners in the implementation of conservation practices.
“The voluntary conservation model’s purpose is not only to help landowners comply with local, state, and federal regulations, but to also help avoid the need for regulations altogether,” he continued. “The public expects clean air and water, healthy soils, and abundant wildlife habitat. The federal government has a better chance at achieving these goals, not by adding additional requirements and regulations, but by encouraging landowners to implement good conservation practices on their land.”
To develop its policy priorities for the next farm bill, NACD created a task force. After conducting a survey, which received over 500 responses, the task force distilled the needs of NACD’s member districts and state associations into nine principles.
NACD’s first farm bill principle affirms what landowners around the country already know: The Locally-Led, Voluntary Incentive-Based Conservation Model Works.
The second of these principles draws a line in the sand: No Further Cuts to Conservation Title Funding in the Farm Bill.
“The financial and technical assistance that farm bill dollars provide are the lifeblood of the voluntary conservation model,” Peters testified. “In these difficult financial times for farmers and ranchers, it is unrealistic to think they would take on costly conservation practices without adequate financial incentive or district-provided technical assistance.”
NACD recognizes that Congress was under significant budget constraints while writing the last farm bill; however, the cuts it made to the conservation title were extreme.
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.