More than 500 organizations oppose further conservation cuts

By Sara Wyant

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WASHINGTON, June 12, 2012 - While noting that conservation programs are essential to the sustainability of agriculture and forestry in the U.S., more than 500 organizations, businesses and individuals signed a letter asking congressional leaders not to further cut funding to the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill.

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The 523 signatories comprise large and small organizations, businesses and landowners from all across America, and other entities such as the city of Davis, California and the University of Iowa.  

Conservation programs already have been significantly cut in recent years and will bear more than their fair share of deficit reduction in the Farm Bill as currently drafted, they pointed out. The groups asked Congress to “hold the line” on conservation funding at the amounts provided in the bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

 “Since the 2008 farm bill was enacted, Conservation Title programs have already been cut significantly through the annual appropriations process, particularly in the last two agriculture appropriations bills, and these cuts have had real and unfortunate impacts on the ground. The additional significant cuts to conservation funding included in the bill advanced by the Senate Agriculture Committee, if enacted, mean that the Conservation Title is already contributing more than its fair share to budget deficit reduction.

“While policy improvements can help reduce the impact of these additional cuts, they will, nevertheless have a negative impact on the ground. Further cuts would jeopardize this country's entire system of successful agricultural and forestry conservation programs. And so we urge you to hold the line on Conservation Title funding at the amounts provided in the bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 26th, 2012,” states the letter.

The letter was coordinated and distributed by 11 agricultural, forestry, and conservation organizations. They are American Farmland Trust, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Ducks Unlimited, Environmental Defense Fund, Land Trust Alliance, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Trout Unlimited.

The full text of the letter to the leaders of the Agriculture Committees can be found online, including the complete list of signers.

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