Categorized | Agriculture

Conservation Principles for the Next Farm Bill

Cutting the federal deficit doesn’t mean that conservation should be on the chopping block. Fifty-six organizations from the across the country are saying the same thing when it comes to the 2012 Farm Bill. The groups, representing a wide variety of policy and advocacy organizations, released guiding conservation principles that Congress should use when drafting the next farm bill.

The set of principles focus on four key areas: maintaining baseline funding for conservation programs within the farm bill, enforcing and strengthening conservation compliance provisions, targeting conservation dollars and streamlining programs for maximum efficiency and results, and ensuring equitable access to these programs. Using these principles means that conservation funds will be used more wisely, resulting in greater environmental benefits without additional funding.

It is not just the 56 groups that think these principles should guide our agricultural policy. The 2011 Survey on Agriculture and the Environment suggests that a majority of Americans agree that agricultural policy should prioritize conservation, especially protecting soil and water quality. With the long-range vision that many of our current leaders seem to lack, the poll shows that Americans favor funding conservation practices today in order to keep costs down in the future. Instead of cutting conservation, people would rather see cuts come from subsidy programs for commodities and crop insurance. Let’s hope that Congress takes this to heart and uses the conservation principles released on Wednesday to find creative ways to continue to make conservation an important part of our nation’s agricultural policy.

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- who has written 10 posts on dotWild.

Allison Sribarra is the Conservation Policy Coordinator at Defenders of Wildlife. Alli works on a variety of issues for Defenders' conservation policy program including federal lands policy and conservation planning.

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dotWild is the blog of scientists and policy experts at Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.