The National Association of Conservation Districts is pleased to support H.R. 5451, legislation introduced by Reps. Ann Kuster, D-N.H., and Rick Crawford, R-Ark., that would exempt landowners who participate in voluntary conservation programs from costly and unnecessary reporting requirements.
“Federal reporting requirements were never intended to burden farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners,” NACD CEO Jeremy Peters said. “They were meant to enhance transparency around the government’s granting and contracting processes. Producers committed to enhancing water and air quality, wildlife habitat, and soil health were never supposed to get tangled up in this.”
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.
“Financial assistance is crucial to the adoption and implementation of conservation,” Peters continued. “The ‘Improving Access to Farm Conservation Act’ would ensure that the producers of America’s food, fuel, and fiber aren’t obligated to jump through hoops to receive the NRCS cost-share assistance they need to put effective conservation on the ground.”