AFT Highlights Need for Quick Farm Bill Action
As the House Ag Committee started work on the 2012 Farm Bill Wednesday morning - American Farmland Trust President Jon Scholl was urging House Speaker John Boehner to bring the finished committee bill to the floor expeditiously. According to Scholl - it is critical that the House complete action on the bill as soon as possible so that a final compromise bill can be sent to the President and signed into law. Scholl says AFT is pleased that the new streamlined Agriculture Land Easement activity is built on the principles they recommended: keep working lands in ag production, rely on the use of permanent easements and work through partnerships at the local level. But Scholl would like to see the House add a conservation compliance provision linked to crop insurance - adopted by the Senate via an amendment by Georgia's Saxby Chambliss. Scholl says it's a commonsense way to continue to protect our most vulnerable lands as the farm safety net evolves to be based more on subsidized crop insurance.
Scholl says a recent survey shows heartland farmers believe by a nearly two-to-one margin that farmers should be required to meet some environmental standards in order to receive federal benefits such as crop insurance. He notes 86-percent of farmers also say the level of conservation funding should be maintained or increased. Scholl says the survey illustrates that farmers understand the importance of conservation in maintaining the productivity and viability of American agriculture in an increasingly global marketplace.
While recognizing the farm bill faces fiscal constraints - Scholl says proposed cuts will be difficult to absorb. For the long-term productivity of American agriculture - he says it's critical that Congress hold the line on funding for conservation provided in the Senate bill and the House Ag Committee's draft.
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