[Farm Bill] Trout Unlimited Supports the Farm Bill Conservation Programs
Background and Talking Points for TU Board of Trustees
Please reauthorize and support strong funding of Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and other Farm Bill conservation programs.
What is the Farm Bill
The farm bill is an multi-program, multi-year law that governs an array of agricultural and food programs — including agricultural related land and water conservation programs. America’s hunters, anglers, farmers, and ranchers depend on the resources offered through the Farm Bill. The Farm bill programs supports innovate partnerships among private and public partners that benefit both agricultural producers and the environment. These partnerships allow for positive outcomes and reduced conflict.
- Annual appropriations: Each year, TU advocates for appropriations of funds to support Farm Bill programs.
- Reauthorization cycle: The Farm Bill must be reauthorized every five years. The current Farm bill will expire in September 2018. The House and Senate Agriculture committees are starting to pull together pieces for the new 2018 bill.
Key programs for TU
The Farm Bill is one of the most powerful conservation tools in our nation’s history. The legions of Americans who love to fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors owe a lot to the little-known but highly effective Farm Bill conservation programs (with alphabet-soup names such as EQIP and RCPP) that have been working for many years to keep our soil and water healthy.
Trout Unlimited has increasingly worked with farmers to improve streams while also making agriculture production better. We are asking for Congress to keep funding these programs so we can keep doing this work.
Trout Unlimited has increasingly worked with farmers to improve streams while also making agriculture production better. For example, in the West, Farm Bill programs pay for irrigation upgrades; things like intake structures that bring water from stream — helping to upgrade to more efficient technology that will also conserve water that will stay instream for fish. In the East, Farm Bill programs often helps us with fencing, to keep cows out of streams — low-tech, but very helpful work that pays dividends for local watersheds.
Farm Bill conservation programs help make it all happen by encouraging local, state and federal partners to share expertise and leverage resources. Farmers and ranchers benefit from the operational upgrades and so do the streams and fish.
TU is a catalyst in this system — we work with the farmers and with the federal agencies to help make the connections and take care of the process to get the farmers what they need on the ground.
Farm Bill Talking Points for Congress
Talking points may vary for specific states or offices, but our big picture key messages and goals are outlined below:
Reauthorize, Fund, and or Expand Water Conservation and Investment Programs.
- Farm Bill Reauthorization is needed in 2018.
- Please reauthorize and support strong funding of NRCS and other Farm Bill programs that invest in land and water conservation to minimize future expense of restoration and promote existing resource values.
- Protect funding for conservation programs (such as EQIP and RCPP).
- Improve administration of programs / improve usability for partners.
- Improve access / usability by irrigation districts.
*Note on the Farm Bill — Forestry Connection:
Farm bill reauthorization facilitates an opportunity for forest management / fire funding. TU messaging:
- Ensure adequate resources available to managers (funding for US Forest Service staff and resource programs);
- Increase pace and scale of restoration work, but without sacrificing environmental safeguards or public involvement.
Additional Farm Bill Background / Recent TU statements
- TU Farm Bill Platform / Fact Sheet (three pager)
- PA: Farm bill is critical to Pennsylvania’s trout fisheries (OpEd from TU’s Amy Wolfe)
- UT: Utah-specific fact sheet NRCS-Farm Bill
- WY: Wyoming-specific fact sheet NRCS-Farm Bill