Press Release

House Farm Bill draft includes key conservation provisions


To ensure stability for our nation’s farms, ranches, soils and waters, the Izaak Walton League of America applauds recent steps towards the next Farm Bill.

On May 17, the House Agriculture Committee released a draft of the legislation, titled the “Farm, Food and National Security Act of 2024.” The draft follows the release of frameworks from both chambers earlier this month. 

“The Farm Bill impacts all Americans by investing in conservation and natural resources,” said Kate Hansen, Agriculture Program Director at the Izaak Walton League. “Congress must pass a Farm Bill this year that meets the moment—one that prioritizes soil health,  water quality and our climate. The House Agriculture Committee’s draft is a good first step and includes League-developed priorities, but the Committee can make improvements to drive adoption of conservation practices that will benefit us all.”

On working agricultural lands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs help farmers and ranchers implement beneficial practices alongside production. They have long been underfunded and oversubscribed. The House draft takes important steps to increase their long-term funding.

In 2022, Congress made a historic investment in climate-smart agriculture practices through the Inflation Reduction Act. In a strategy embraced by both the House and Senate, integrating these funds into the Farm Bill will grow available resources for years to come. However, the House proposal removes their focus on climate.   

“Directing more permanent funding to conservation programs, like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, is a sound investment that will pay back many times over." said Hansen. “However, the House proposal would be stronger with clear targets for climate-smart practices. These practices have proven popular among farmers and ranchers, and they improve water quality and soil health along the way.”    

The proposal also includes a soil health program—originally conceived and drafted by the League—that would make grants available to states and tribes. Eligible functions of the program would include technical assistance, financial assistance, on-farm research, education, outreach and monitoring.

“Restoring the health of our nation’s soils should be a national priority. The Izaak Walton League applauds the inclusion of a soil health program that would assist states and tribes improve soil health on agricultural land," said Hansen.

Robust debates are ahead, starting on May 23, when the House draft will be marked up in committee. Current dynamics in Congress make clear that the legislation, and process, will need to be bipartisan to be successful.

“Keeping pace, working in a bipartisan manner, and passing a Farm Bill this year is necessary for the stability of our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and natural resources,” said Hansen. “But we must seize this opportunity to lay a foundation for transforming soil health across America’s farms and ranches so that we can all enjoy cleaner water and a more resilient future.” 

Staff Contacts

Kate Hansen, Agriculture Program Director,  

Michael Reinemer, Communications Director, 

Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League fights for clean air and water, healthy fish and wildlife habitat and conservation of our natural resources for future generations. The League plays a unique role in supporting community-based science and local conservation and has a long legacy of shaping sound national policy. See

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