Friday, September 29, 2023

Lawmakers Seek $1 Billion for Farm Bill Conservation Programs in 2023 Budget

by Colter Brown

A group of Senate Democrats have requested the 2023 budget include funding for Farm Bill conservation programs. Senators Michael Bennet of Colorado, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Chris Coons of Delaware led the effort in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee.

The senators also ask for $1 billion to continue to increase USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Conservation Operations to help ensure farmers, ranchers, and foresters can be part of the climate solution.

“Recognizing the importance of land-based solutions in combating climate change, it is necessary to continue federal investments in USDA conservation programs,” wrote the senators.“We need strong investments in USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) staff and resources to support farmers, ranchers and foresters to help mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

In the recent FY22 omnibus spending bill, the Senate passed $904 million for NRCS Conservation Operations. 

The NRCS staff help implement several Farm Bill conservation programs that are critical to helping farmers, foresters, and ranchers conserve land and water, protect water quality, and improve soil health. As climate change continues to affect communities across the country, strong investments in these programs are necessary to help Colorado’s agriculture community combat its effects. 

The senators continued:“As producers face growing productivity and environmental challenges such as droughts, wildfires, and floods, these programs help build resiliency and support the economic viability of family farms. These programs also help producers implement climate-smart conservation practices and enhance productivity. Maintaining full mandatory funding, as authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, will keep working farms and ranches productive and benefit the environment.”

In addition to Bennet, Stabenow, and Coons, this letter is signed by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

The text of the letter is available HERE


NAFB/Sen. Michael Bennet

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