In an unexpected move, 7 of the 25 Representatives nominated to the Farm Bill Conference are from outside of the House Agriculture Committee. With billions of land conservation funding potentially in the balance, it is important that these representatives hear from their constituents. Even though your land trust may not use Farm Bill funding, investing an hour or two right now to make the argument that land conservation funding is essential could tip the field in the land trust community’s favor.
Still Time to Influence the Final Farm Bill!
It’s been a long time coming but late Friday the House voted to move forward with the Farm Bill, and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) appointed the House conferees. A date has not yet been set for the conference committee to meet and reconcile the differences from both versions of the bill. That means there is still time to call these legislators and impact the final outcome.
Achieving a consensus will be challenging since the House and Senate are still billions of dollars apart on nutrition/food stamps. The senate bill includes the cost share waiver plus $150 million more in funding for the recently merged Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). If your senator or representative is a conferee, it’s imperative that you call 202-224-3121 right away and let them know how important these programs are to their constituents and communities.
Conferees for Farm Bill Conference Committee
The inclusion of conferees outside the Agriculture committee (in italics) may introduce uninformed perspectives on conservation priorities, so your attention to getting them oriented is more important than ever. This action also introduces potentially uninformed perspectives on conservation priorities.
The Republican House conferees are:
- Frank Lucas/Chair/OK
- Randy Neugebauer/TX
- Mike Rogers/AL
- Mike Conaway/TX
- Glenn Thompson/PA
- Austin Scott/GA
- Rick Crawford/AR
- Martha Roby/AL
- Kristi Noem/SD
- Jeff Denham/CA
- Rodney Davis/IL
- Steve Southerland/FL
- Ed Royce/CA
- Tom Marino/PA
- Dave Camp/MI
- Sam Johnson/TX
The Democratic House conferees are:
- Collin Peterson/Ranking Member/MN
- Marcia Fudge/OH – Appointed by Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, to represent leadership in conference
- Mike McIntyre/NC
- Jim Costa/CA
- Timothy Walz/MN
- Kurt Shcrader/OR
- Jim McGovern/MA
- Suzan DelBene/WA
- Gloria Negrete McLeod/CA
- Filemon Vela/TX
- Eliot Engel/NY
- Sander Levin/MI
As previously reported, the Senate conferees are:
- Debbie Stabenow/Chair (D-MI)
- Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
- Tom Harkin (D-IA)
- Max Baucus (D-MT)
- Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
- Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
- Michael Bennet (D-CO)
- Thad Cochran/Ranking member (R-MS)
- Pat Roberts (R-KS)
- Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
- Hoeven (R-ND)
- John Boozman (R-AR)
Time to Make Your Voice Heard
So, what’s the message?
- Hold the line on funding for ACEP; everyone has to share the pain in this fiscal climate but we have already endured several cuts!
- Include the waiver in the final bill since it was not included in the House bill (talking points). The concerns we keep hearing are related to land trusts having “skin in the game." No one can better explain the amount of resources that land trusts have invested in these projects than those of you who are utilizing these funds!
- We have also prepared a fact sheet in support of the overall bill to share with your legislators. This investment of federal funds translates into a direct economic benefit to local communities!
On October 1, the nine month extension of the 2008 Farm Bill expired, stopping new enrollments in the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program and the Grassland Reserve Program. Fortunately, the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program can continue through October of next year, thanks to an extension in the last Ag Appropriations bill. We need to continue pressure on Congress to pass a new farm bill in the near future.
Continue Flooding Social Media
Don’t stop using your social media channels to highlight your conservation success stories! Tell the story of what Farm Bill funding means to your community by using the hashtag #MyFarmBill on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Share your outreach with us. With the potential of losing the framework and funding for the conservation easement programs, this offers a perfect opportunity for the land trust community and their many achievements to shine.
Continue to check our Farm Bill page and follow me on for the most recent updates.
Onward and Upward,
P.S. Interested in learning more about the Farm Bill? Subscribe to Farm Bill Advocates to get the latest information.
Western Policy Manager | Land Trust Alliance
55810 ME Road | Collbran, CO 81624
970-487-9924 | Email