Policy Pulse: Budget Cuts Target Farm Bill Conservation Programs

It’s becoming a rather predictable cycle: The Farm Bill commits Congress to fund some of the nation’s most important agricultural conservation programs, including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Then the president and Congress fail to follow through and instead cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for those programs in annual budget bills.

This year, the president’s budget request to Congress offers more of the same – around $850 million in cuts to EQIP and CSP. That’s on top of the $600 million taken from these same programs last year. If Congress goes along with the president in making these cuts, programs essential to conservation efforts will not be able to effectively protect water quality, prevent soil erosion, and provide wildlife habitat on agricultural lands around the country.

As the process to fund the federal government barrels on, the League is fighting to take the target off conservation’s back. After submitting testimony in support of farm conservation programs to the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees responsible for funding these programs, the Izaak Walton League and 13 of our state divisions and local chapters signed on to a letter with more than 100 other groups urging Congress to keep the Farm Bill intact, reject the Administration’s irresponsible Farm Bill cuts, and protect these vital programs and the public goods they support.