Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Arizona Republican John Boozman introduced the Improving Access to Farm Conservation Act this week. It’s legislation designed to improve access to the voluntary farm programs administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The NRCS provides the knowledge and financial assistance to help farmers improve conservation practices on their farms. However, the report requirements and other red tape have been difficult for smaller, mid-sized, or newer farmers to navigate. The reporting is done electronically and farmers who don’t have reliable broadband access in rural areas are at a bigger disadvantage. The bill is designed to remove the burdensome regulations for NRCS cost-share recipients. “Minnesota farmers want to take part in these conservation programs,” said Senator Klobuchar, “but the burdensome reporting requirements make the programs harder to access. This legislation will remove government red tape standing between all farmers and the conservation programs that protect their farmlands and the surrounding environment.”
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.
Klobuchar, Boozman Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Access to Voluntary Farm Conservation Programs
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides cost-share assistance to farmers to improve conservation practices on their farms; However, annual federal reporting regulations required under NRCS programs have been burdensome on many small, mid-sized, beginning, and historically underserved farmers
The Improving Access to Farm Conservation Act would remove this burdensome regulation which currently puts small farmers on the same level as other entities receiving multi-million dollar government contracts, such as large military contractors
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Boozman (R-AR) introduced the Improving Access to Farm Conservation Act, bipartisan legislation to improve access to voluntary farm conservation programs administered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The NRCS is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides technical and financial assistance to farmers to improve conservation practices on their farms. However, annual federal reporting regulations required under this program have been burdensome on many small, mid-sized, beginning, and historically underserved farmers. Additionally, because this reporting system is done electronically and requires reliable internet access, farmers in rural areas with limited broadband access are even further disadvantaged. This bill would remove this burdensome regulation for NRCS cost share recipients.
“Farmers and producers across Minnesota are eager to take part in voluntary conservation programs, but for many, the burdensome reporting requirements and regulations are a barrier to access,” said Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan legislation will help remove government red tape that is standing between small and beginning farmers and the conservation programs that will help protect their farmland and the environments within their communities.”
“Arkansas farmers and ranchers are excellent stewards of the environment. They strive hard to help us live up to our nickname of the Natural State, yet they are often boxed out of voluntary conservation programs to help accomplish this goal. Our bill can help them protect our shared resources by removing the bureaucratic barriers that keep family farmers from participating in these programs,” Boozman said.
Thousands of farmers and ranchers voluntarily participate in the wide range of conservation programs that are offered through NRCS, with many of these programs offering a cost-share payment which helps farmers with the cost of implementing conservation measures. The Improving Access to Farm Conservation Act would remove burdensome regulations for NRCS cost share recipients, which currently puts small farmers on the same level as other entities receiving multi-million dollar government contracts, such as large military contractors.