Washington, D.C. – The Izaak Walton League of America today urged decision makers to include a no-cost “Conservation Compliance” stipulation in recommendations to the Super Committee to protect America’s farmland, water and wildlife.
“It is critical that we not lose this opportunity to conserve farmland and keep our water clean and wildlife abundant for future generations by including no-cost Conservation Compliance protections in the budget deficit reduction legislation,” said Brad Redlin, agricultural program director for the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA).
Redlin’s remarks were directed to U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) and U.S. Representatives Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), who have proposed $23 billion in cuts, representing agriculture’s share of the budget deficit reduction measures. These lawmakers have pledged to finalize their bi-partisan, bi-cameral recommendations by November 1. The Super Committee will finalize its recommendations to Congress on November 23.
Conservation Compliance provisions, which guard against excessive soil erosion and ensure mitigation when converting wetlands to crop production, were first established in 1985 to accompany all taxpayer provided support to agricultural producers. However, the 1996 Farm Bill included a provision that exempted federal crop insurance subsidy recipients from having to protect land at high risk for erosion or conserve wetland acres.
The IWLA has advocated re-establishing Conservation Compliance measures for federal crop insurance subsidies in the 2012 Farm Bill to ensure that farmers who receive federal tax dollars protect soil and water resources. Crop insurance subsidies are the single largest means for providing public money to agriculture, covering more than 250 million acres of land and over 80 percent of commodity crops grown.
“Conservation Compliance can help ensure that where public money is invested, the public’s interests are protected by requiring basic levels of protections for soil, water, and wetlands. Compliance provisions require no additional Farm Bill investment – in fact, they can result in saving federal dollars.” Redlin said.
“We don’t want to leave our children a nation paralyzed by deficit, but we do want to leave them an American Legacy of prosperous farmland, clean water and abundant wildlife,” Redlin stated.
Earlier this year, the Izaak Walton League conducted events in five Midwest states – Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin – to discuss the needs and opportunities for the 2012 Farm Bill. The goal was to gain public input from all types of citizens on the effective role of the Farm Bill in supporting an agricultural system that achieves stewardship, prosperity, and fairness.
“That means federal farm policies should support agricultural practices that are good for farmers, good for the environment, and good for America,” said Redlin.
For more information about the Farm Bill, visit our Agriculture Web page.