The Senate Agriculture Committee is holding the second in a series of hearings focused on the next farm bill on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. The hearing, scheduled for10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, focuses on: "Strengthening Conservation through the 2012 Farm Bill." Many farm organizations are already on record supporting the proposed consolidation of 23 conservation programs in 13. They like the idea of simplifying these programs, keeping the same tools but merging them into fewer programs.
A group of more than 640 organizations, spearheaded by the American Farmland Trust, has sent a letter to agricultural leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees urging strong support of the Conservation Title of the next farm bill.
"We must have the most robust conservation spending possible to give farmers the programs they need to protect our farm and ranch land and to help keep our soils, water and other natural resources in the best condition possible," AFT President Jon Scholl said.
The result is real conservation with multiple benefits for every region of America. Not the least of these is helping landowners to stay on the land as stewards of America’s legacy of natural resources.”
Scholl says he realizes that there are some difficult decisions ahead due to budget constraints but that it is important to keep moving forward despite fiscal challenges.
“It’s time to recognize that the Conservation Title is a crucial strategic investment that underpins our health and prosperity today; one that will only gain in importance as we face increasing agricultural and environmental challenges in coming decades,” Scholl said.
In related news, Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has announced the rescheduling of future farm bill hearings. The hearing on healthy food initiatives has been moved from Wednesday, March 14 to Wednesday, March 7. Also the hearing on the Commodity Title as well as risk management has been rescheduled from Wednesday, March 21 to Wednesday, March 14.