Agricultural groups are becoming more concerned about President Joe Biden’s executive order pertaining to conservation. The order signed back in January is commonly being referred to as the ‘30×30 plan.’ Biden has proposed the conservation of 30 percent of U.S. land and waterways by 2030. The issue for many ag organizations is that very few details have been provided as to how the plan would be implemented. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) sent a letter to the Biden Administration seeking clarity and cooperation on the ambitious conservation plan.
“The concerns of farmers and ranchers are escalating regarding the intent of the 30×30 goal, the definition of conservation, and the metrics for defining success, among other things,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in the letter. “We urge you to move swiftly to provide clarity about your intentions for the initiative, and when you do so, it will be important for you to invite public comment because farmers and ranchers are leaders in conservation and deserve to have their voices heard.”
There was hope that more details about the 30×30 plan would be addressed during the recent virtual climate summit. Plans to cut domestic greenhouse gas emission levels by 2030 were announced, but no further details were provided about the 30×30 proposal. In his letter, Duvall highlights the voluntary conservation efforts already undertaken by farmers and calls for industry participation in the development of any federal conservation plans. The lack of specifics regarding the plan is creating some anxiety within the agriculture industry. Comments have been made equating the proposal to a federal land grab of nearly 700 million acres.
During a recent media briefing, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tried to ease concerns about the 30×30 plan. “There’s no intention to have a land grab,” said Vilsack, “there’s no intention to take something away from folks.” Vilsack explained that USDA will be working with the industry in drafting a plan for meeting the 30×30 goals.