May 8, 2013
On Tuesday, May 7, six former Chiefs of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) delivered a letter to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, urging them to reattach conservation accountability measures to federal crop insurance premium subsidies.
In the letter, former NRCS Chiefs Dave White (2009-2012), Arlen Lancaster (2006-2009), Bruce Knight (2002-2006), Pearlie Reed (1998-2002), Paul Johnson (1994-1997), and William Richards (1990-1993) write “to share [their] strong support for conservation compliance and to highlight this conservation success story as [the Agriculture Committees] develop the 2013 Farm Bill.”
The letter continues: “Today, high prices driven by strong demand for our commodities are boosting farm income but putting enormous pressure on our land and water resources. Maintaining the current conservation compliance provisions, which are both effective and achievable, is essential to our efforts to maintain the conservation gains of recent decades. As you take steps to modernize our farm safety net, we urge you to make sure that compliance provisions cover all income support, including eligibility for crop and revenue insurance premium subsidies.”
In 2012, the Senate-passed farm bill included a provision to relink crop insurance premium subsidies to highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements. However, the bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee last year did not include that provision.
The letter from the former NRCS Chiefs is an important show of support for relinking conservation accountability measures to crop insurance subsidies, and NSAC will continue to support that accountability provision as we proceed to House and Senate farm bill markups next week.