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RELEASE: Farmer Driven Conservation Outcomes Act to Strengthen Federal Conservation Programs

March 11, 2020


Contact: Eric Deeble

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

202-547-5754, edeeble@sustainableagriculture.net

Farmer Driven Conservation Outcomes Act to Strengthen Federal Conservation Programs

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition applauds effort by Senators Bob Casey and Shelly Moore Capito, and Representatives Marcia Fudge and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson

Washington, DC, March 11, 2020 – The Farmer Driven Conservation Outcomes Act, a bipartisan bill introduced today by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), and Representatives Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), will improve USDA conservation programs for American farmers and ensure the most efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars. Specifically, the bill strengthens federal conservation programs by authorizing and providing funding for the measurement, evaluation, and reporting of USDA’s farm bill conservation program outcomes.

USDA invests over $5 billion each year in programs that support farmers and ranchers in adopting conservation activities. These programs – including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Regional Conservation Partnerships Program (RCPP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) – are utilized across tens of millions of acres of land and help farmers to mitigate climate change and invest in soil health, air and water quality, water conservation, and wildlife habitat.

“The Farmer Driven Conservation Outcomes Act will ensure that American family farmers are getting the absolute best conservation programs and practice recommendations from USDA,” said Eric Deeble, Policy Director of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). “By tracking and evaluating program outcomes, Congress can make federal conservation programs more accountable to American taxpayers and better performing for American farmers.”

The Farmer Driven Conservation Outcomes Act will invest in farmers, ranchers, and our shared natural resources, while ensuring accountability to taxpayers who support these programs by:

  • Authorizing USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) and expanding Department’s ability to assess natural resource concerns through enhanced measurement, evaluation, and reporting on conservation program outcomes.
  • Quantifying the environmental benefits of conservation practices in order to better build upon and improve program and practice performance.
  • Directing USDA to use up to one percent of funding available for new enrollments of farm bill conservation programs to support the measurement and evaluation process.
  • Requiring USDA to report on program progress to Congress and to the public, provided that individual data is aggregated to protect personally identifiable information.
  • Establishing a National Technical Committee composed of individuals with relevant technical and scientific expertise to assist NRCS in monitoring and evaluating conservation programs.
  • Authorizing USDA to implement cooperative agreements with qualifying federal, state, and local agencies, universities and colleges, and NGOs to support implementation.

“NSAC applauds Senators Casey and Capito, and Representatives Fudge and Thompson for supporting farmers and ranchers through their new legislation. This much-needed investment ensures private lands conservation will continue to be central to the long-term health of our nation’s natural resources,” said Deeble. “Very similar legislation was adopted by the House of Representatives during their consideration of the 2018 Farm Bill, but the measure unfortunately was not included in the final version of the farm bill. We look forward to working with these conservation leaders in Congress to get this important measure adopted as soon as possible.”


About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: http://sustainableagriculture.net

Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment, Press Releases

One response to “RELEASE: Farmer Driven Conservation Outcomes Act to Strengthen Federal Conservation Programs”

  1. Ray Cooper says:

    Yes conservation for regenerative Agric.