April 24, 2012
On Friday, April 20, four former Chiefs of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) wrote a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees in support of reattaching highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements to federal crop insurance subsidies.
This letter comes nearly one month after two former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture delivered their own letter asking the Agriculture Committees to do the same thing. In addition to the Agriculture Secretaries’ letter, 15 national organizations also delivered a letter this month in support of reattaching conservation compliance requirements to federal crop insurance subsidies.
The letter, sent by former NRCS Chiefs William Richards (1990-1993), Paul Johnson (1994-1997), Bruce Knight (2002-2006), and Arlen Lancaster (2006-2009), urges the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committee “to make sure conservation compliance provisions cover all income support, including eligibility for crop and revenue insurance premium subsidies.”
Visit the NSAC website to learn more about the effort to reattach highly erodible land and wetland conservation compliance requirements to federal crop insurance subsidies in the 2012 Farm Bill. You can also download the NSAC fact sheet on conservation compliance here.
We now know that re-attaching these highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements to burgeoning crop insurance subsidies were not included in the Commodity Title of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-KS) farm bill mark. We also know that no amendment has been filed to be offered in the markup of the new farm bill in the Senate Agriculture Committee this week.
This is truly a lost opportunity to preserve natural resources for future generations. In our networks there is overwhelming farmer support for a stronger and comprehensive conservation compliance regime. This is therefore a major priority for NSAC and we will continue to work hard to ensure that the nine billion dollar a year taxpayer investment in crop insurance on behalf of farmers comes with at least some basic, modest conservation requirements in return.
We will alert readers to opportunities to support this conservation compact when the bill moves to the Senate floor.