Thompson-Fortenberry Bill Would Restore Federal Conservation Compact

Washington, D.C. – A bipartisan measure introduced by Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., would restore the agreement between farmers and taxpayers that has protected soil, water and wetlands and grasslands since 1985, the Environmental Working Group said in a statement.

The Crop Insurance Accountability Act of 2013 would require farmers who receive crop insurance subsidies to carry out basic conservation measures on their farms. Unlike traditional farm subsidies, crop insurance recipients are not required to adopt environmental protections in exchange for taxpayer support.

Scott Faber, EWG’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, said:

We applaud Reps. Thompson and Fortenberry for introducing a common-sense measure that will help better protect our families, our farms and our food. America’s farmlands must be managed so they remain productive forever and can be passed down to future generations of farmers.

This proposal is needed now more than ever as high crop prices, unlimited subsidies and ethanol mandates have placed unprecedented pressure on our most valuable resources and bloated crop insurance subsidies produced powerful incentives to plow up marginal lands. Since 2008, farmers have plowed under more than 23 million acres of wetlands and grasslands – an area the size of Indiana.

We urge House lawmakers to pass this bill to ensure that our land remains productive and our streams run clear.

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