Get more conservation for your Farm Bill money

By Kerri Sorrell on May 14, 2013 in Blog

Photo credit: TumblingRun / / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: TumblingRun / / CC BY-NC-ND

Written by Duane Sand, INHF Public Policy Director

An essential farm policy reform gained major momentum last week, and your calls now may help it become law. More than 30 national farm, commodity and conservation organizations have agreed to details for restoring conservation compliance requirements for those receiving federal crop and revenue insurance subsidies.

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation has worked for this kind of reform for over two years. Lawmakers have often told us the farm lobby would kill this reform, even though the Senate voted for such change in 2012. Now we've learned the farm lobby will not fight this change, provided conservation groups stop seeking limits on farm payments.

Senate Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow has written a Farm Bill amendment to enact the conservation compliance compromise negotiated among these groups. (Click for more details on the proposal or to read the Stabenow Amendment on Conservation Compliance in its entirety.)

Over the next couple days, both the house and Senate Agriculture Committees will finalize their respective drafts of the 2013 Farm Bill, so now is the time to voice your support for conservation.

Please call members of the Iowa Congressional delegation who serve on the Agriculture Committee:

  • Senator Charles Grassley      202-224-3744
  • Senator Tom Harkin               202-224-3254
  • Representative Steven King   202-225-4426
  1. Tell them conservation rules that apply to other farm subsidies should also apply to federal subsidies for crop and revenue insurance.
  2. Ask them to please minimize conservation funding cuts in the Farm Bill.

Substantial conservation funding cuts are likely in the Farm Bill negotiated between the House and the Senate, leaving fewer USDA incentives available to address environmental problems. So the big opportunity to enhance conservation is to expand the reach of conservation compliance rules to include those who receive federal crop insurance subsidies.

Thank you for speaking up now to help save our soil, water and wetlands!