The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate members assigned to the 2018 Farm Bill conference committee.
The letter outlines the organization’s legislative priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill. NACD supports a final bill that includes level funding for the Conservation Title, retains the current conservation delivery system within the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), and ensures the identity and purpose of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) are maintained.
“We’re one step closer to getting this farm bill done,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said. “Both agriculture committees have spent the better part of two years getting prepared for this moment. We encourage the conference committee to protect the locally-led, voluntary, incentive-based conservation model. Conservation districts enable decision-making to occur at the local level, which only serves to make farm bill conservation programs more effective. This committee has the opportunity to ensure that continues to be the case.”
Both the House and Senate chambers have appointed their conferees to resolve the differences between the two chambers’ bills. There will be 47 conferees from the House and nine from the Senate. Of the lawmakers selected, 30 sit on either the House or Senate agriculture committees.
“The current farm bill’s expiration date is fast approaching,” Van Dyke said. “The farm bill improves America’s farmers and ranchers’ ability to produce the safest, most abundant food and fiber supply in the world. Additionally, farm bill conservation programs support producers’ ability to conserve natural resources and improve soil health and water quality. With continued difficulties in the farm economy and a growing population, we need both sides of the aisle to come together now more than ever to see this legislation through.”