Conservation, Energy & Environment

2016 Budget Resolution and Appropriations in Process

April 24, 2015

The House and Senate passed their respective versions of the annual budget resolution at the end of March, leading to expectations that a final version might be hashed out by close to the statutory target date of April 15. Though missing that deadline, the negotiations between House and Senate Budget Committee GOP leadership are now […]

USDA Awards $2 Million for Energy Audits and Renewable Energy

April 24, 2015

On Wednesday, April 22, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the first round of fiscal year 2015 awards for the Rural Energy for American Program (REAP). The $2 million will go out to 25 intermediary entities such as universities and electric cooperatives to provide energy audits and renewable energy development assistance to producers and small businesses in […]

USDA Awards $10 Million in Water Quality Assistance through Mississippi River Basin Initiative

April 10, 2015

On April 7, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack awarded $10 million through the Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) for 27 new conservation projects, each located in a watershed new to the Initiative, as well as 13 ongoing projects that have previously received MRBI funding. These new awards build upon $18.5 million that was invested through […]

New Study Exposes Conversion of Millions of Acres of Grasslands and Forests

April 3, 2015

On Thursday, April 2, a research team from the University of Wisconsin published a new study revealing the conversion of 7.34 million acres of uncultivated land to cropland between 2008 and 2012. The researchers focused on land that had not been cultivated during the eight years preceding the conversion. “In the US Corn Belt (supplementary figure […]

Wetland and Farmland Easement Funding Available

March 31, 2015

The deadline for applications for ACEP enrollment is May 15, 2015.

Senators Speak Up for Conservation Funding in 2016

March 30, 2015

On Friday, March 27, 29 Senators delivered a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee urging them to oppose cuts to conservation programs in fiscal year (FY) 2016 appropriations legislation. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) led the letter. Among the many other signers was Senate Agriculture Committee […]

Budget Resolutions Set Stage for Appropriations; Farm Bill Re-Opening Still a Possibility

March 27, 2015

This week the House and Senate both passed their respective budget resolutions for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The House passed its budget on Wednesday, March 25 while the Senate passed its budget in the wee hours of Friday morning. Budget resolutions provide the blueprint for the appropriations process that will take place in the coming […]

Digging Deeper into Continuous CRP Enrollments

March 24, 2015

Earlier this month, NSAC teamed up with water quality, conservation, and grain and oilseed processor groups to encourage the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to set aside at least a third of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP) including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and the State Acres for Wildlife […]

Agriculture Funding Debates Continue, Decisions Loom

March 20, 2015

This week and last, the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees continued their examination of the Obama Administration’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2016. Food & Drug Administration On Thursday, March 12, Senate appropriators questioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about their increased budget request to support implementation of the Food Safety Modernization […]

Farmers, Ranchers Visit DC to Speak Out on Critical Sustainable Agriculture Programs

March 19, 2015

On March 18th, independent family farmers and ranchers from all over the country traveled to DC to meet with their Congressional members to advocate for critical sustainable agriculture programs. They discussed the importance of federal funding for programs that support working lands conservation, agricultural research, and food safety outreach. Over the course of the day, the farmers met with their Senators and Representatives to discuss their personal experiences working with sustainable agriculture programs. The farmers explained how funding for these programs is an effective investment in rural economies, local food systems, and environmental improvement.

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