Earlier this week, the American Farmland Trust came out in support of consolidating conservation programs in the upcoming Farm Bill. Founded in 1980, the AFT is a major farm advocacy group dedicated to preserving farm and ranch land across the country as well as promoting sustainable agriculture.
Consolidating conservation programs, the AFT believes, could help lower overall spending (without cutting valuable services) and could make it easier for farmers to apply for conservation funding and comply with program requirements.
As it stands currently, there are redundant programs build into current agricultural frameworks. For example, both The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and the Grasslands Reserve Program serve to keep productive land available for agriculture and could easily be merged into a single program. Maintaining two independent bureaucracies, the AFT argues, increases maintenance costs.
The congressional supercommittee has considered various debt reduction proposals that affect conservation funding. Senator Dick Lugar has already introduced legislation that would cut farm spending by $40 billion, with much of it coming from conservation funding. The AFT believes that its proposal reduces spending, without compromising conservation funding.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer