New Agriculture, Conservation Coalition Urges Passage of Farm Bill

Date: 
Wed, 02/29/2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Agriculture, Conservation Coalition Urges Passage of Farm Bill
Groups call FB conservation programs ‘critical to the health of West’

(Washington, D.C.) – A new coalition of conservation and agriculture
groups called on Congress to pass the Farm Bill this year to ensure full
funding for conservation title programs, saying they are critical to
the health of Western economies and landscapes.
The newly formed Western Agricultural and Conservation Coalition
includes the California Farm Bureau Federation, Trout Unlimited, Wyoming
Stock Growers Association, The Nature Conservancy, Arizona Public Lands
Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Family Farm Alliance, Public Lands
Council and the Irrigation Association. The coalition will advocate
for balanced management of resources in the West, educate about the
common interests of agriculture and conservation, and engage
decision-makers to further a shared vision of a rural West that is
economically and environmentally sustainable.
As a first step, the groups called on Congress to pass the Farm Bill
this year in order to ensure full funding for the conservation title
programs. The Senate Agriculture Committee held a conservation hearing
this week, an action which the coalition agreed was an important step in
the right direction. The groups will submit detailed policy proposals
to the Committee in coming days.

”Successful conservation depends on collaboration,” said Chris Wood,
president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “In the West, many of our
conservation projects wouldn't happen without two things: agricultural
producer partners and Farm Bill support. We urge Congress to act quickly
to ensure a Farm Bill that continues to provide vital tools for private
land stewardship."
The Farm Bill is one of the nation’s most successful and powerful
drivers of on-farm conservation and innovation. More than ever, for
producers to reduce risks and remain competitive, they have to make sure
they’re operating as efficiently as possible.
But for many farmers and ranchers, investing in new irrigation
upgrades—not to mention stream habitat improvements—is often
cost-prohibitive.
That’s where the Farm Bill’s highly effective Title II conservation
programs—EQIP, AWEP, CCPI and others—play a key role. For more than 75
years, they’ve helped fund infrastructure modernization and conservation
projects that benefit ag operations while protecting stream health and
wildlife habitat.

While the current Farm Bill debate is the priority of the coalition,
members of the Western Agriculture and Conservation Coalition look
forward to potentially expanding the coalition’s focus to include other
areas of importance to western agriculture production and conservation
efforts.

“Livestock producers look forward to the opportunity to show the
inextricable connection between their ability to stay in business, and
the health of the economies and natural resources of the West,” said
John Falen, PLC president and rancher from Nevada. “Through wise
resource use over generations, and through clear private property
rights, ranchers have proven themselves diligent stewards of the land.”

# # #

For further information, contact:

Jeff Eisenberg, Coalition Staff, 571-355-3073
Trout Unlimited, Russ Schnitzer, 307-438-1365

Other media contacts:
Family Farm Alliance, Dan Keppen, 541-892-6244
The Nature Conservancy, Sean McMahon, 515-244-5044
Arizona Public Lands Council, Dave Cook, 928-701-3021
Environmental Defense Fund, Dan Grossman, 303-447-7213
Wyoming Stock Growers, Jim Magagna, 307-638-3942
California Farm Bureau, Elisa Noble, 916-561-5618
Public Lands Council, Dustin Van Liew, 202-879-9126
Irrigation Association, John Farner, 703-536-7080

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