Thursday, October 31, 2013

American Farmland Trust: Federal Shutdown Has Not Ended For Many Farm Bill Programs, Conferees Begin Work

Congressional Conferees began work Wednesday on resolving differences between the Senate and House provisions in the Farm Bill, but Andrew McElwaine, President and CEO American Farmland Trust, noted the federal shutdown has not ended for many farm programs because the existing Farm Bill expired on September 30.
        “Farmers have been stuck in limbo since September 30 when the Farm Bill expired.  They haven’t been able to sign up for several important farm conservation and other programs because the federal law authorizing them has expired,” said McElwaine.  “This lack of action is causing significant confusion in the farm economy and uncertainty among farmers who rely on these programs to operate efficiently and economically.
        “Conferees began work Wednesday to hammer out their differences,” said McElwaine.  “One provision we believe is critical to include in the final bill is conservation compliance, restoring the decades-old link between federal crop insurance assistance and the need to comply with conservation practices.
        “Throughout its 25-year history, conservation compliance has annually reduced soil erosion by 295 million tons,” explained McElwaine. “We think this is a fair exchange: farmers protect fragile soil from erosion, important wetlands are preserved and taxpayers' investments are protected through the combination of sound agricultural and conservation policy.”
American Farmland Trust signed on to a letter from 278 other national, regional and state farm and conservation groups supporting a conservation compliance provision and a national sodsaver in the final Farm Bill.
“AFT looks forward to working with conference committee members to craft a Farm Bill which protects and conserves farmland across the nation,” said McElwaine.
Click Here to tell Congress to keep conservation compliance in the Farm Bill.
The American Farmland Trust is the nation’s leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land.
For more information on the policies and programs of AFT, visit the American Farmland Trust webpage,  follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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