Survey Conducted by AFT Demonstrates Need for New Farm Bill

American Farmland Trust and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln conducted a survey of farmers and ranchers that shows the need for Congress to pass the farm bill. Farmers and ranchers who have benefitted from the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program were surveyed. AFT President and CEO Andrew McElwaine says the program is one of many critical agriculture programs threatened by the inability of Congress to pass a five-year farm bill. According to McElwaine - the survey asked a critical question - is the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program delivering on its promise to protect farmland and encourage conservation practices. He says the overwhelming answer received was yes.

According to the survey - 96-percent of farmers and ranchers receiving help through the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program are continuing agricultural production on some or all of the land protected. Seventy-percent kept at least three-quarters in production. McElwaine says more than 68-percent of those surveyed implemented new management practices to prevent soil erosion and/or to protect water quality. The survey also found 84-percent of landowners who sold easements reinvested the proceeds to improve their farms by building structures, buying equipment, purchasing land or installing conservation practices.

The Farm and Ranchland Protection Program - according to McElwaine - delivers tremendous value to farmers and taxpayers by keeping farm and ranch land in production and attracting two-dollars in landowner, private or state and local matching funds for every dollar invested by the federal government. McElwaine says it's vital for the conference committee to finish its work and pass a new bill that fully funds farm conservation programs.

For a copy of the study - visit www dot farmlandinfo dot org slash FRPPImpacts (www.farmlandinfo.org/FRPPImpacts).

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