February 28, 2012
The Honorable Debbie Stabenow
The Honorable Pat Roberts
The Honorable Frank D. Lucas
The Honorable Collin Peterson
Senate Committee on Agriculture,
Nutrition and Forestry
328A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC, 20510
House Committee on Agriculture
1301 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC, 20515
As you renew food and farm policy, we urge you to strengthen USDA conservation programs in order to reward farmers and ranchers who take steps to protect our air, water and wildlife.
Because all farmers and ranchers in all regions are eligible, expanding USDA conservation programs would more equitably distribute scarce federal resources. In addition, making key improvements in USDA conservation programs will help produce far more public goods – including cleaner air, cleaner water, and open spaces – that benefit all Americans.
Unfortunately, two out of three farmers and ranchers are turned away when they offer to contribute to a healthier environment because of insufficient USDA funding. Since 2002, Congress has cut more than $4 billion from USDA conservation programs – the deepest cuts made to any farm bill program.
Farmers can produce more than food and fiber – they can also produce cleaner air, cleaner water, open spaces, and abundant wildlife. We urge you to support all farmers and all regions of the country by renewing America’s investment in USDA conservation programs.
Vice President of Conservation Policy
Defenders of Wildlife
National Audubon Society
Vice President for Government Affairs
Environmental Working Group
Associate Director of Government Affairs
Natural Resources Defense Council
League of Conservation Voters
Director, Environmental Quality Program