Congress is writing a new Farm Bill in 2012,
and it will determine the size and shape of federal farm and ranch
conservation programs that today provide more than $100 million per year in
Nebraska and result in more than 1 million acres of fish and wildlife
habitat in our state. (For more information on the Farm Bill and wildlife,
see our Farm Policy page.)
The Senate approved its version of a new Farm
Bill in June. The House Agriculture Committee is now considering its version
of a new Farm Bill, and the draft released by committee leaders July 6 falls
far short of what is needed.
The bill would cut over $6 billion from USDA
conservation programs, and consolidate 23 existing programs into 13. It
would cut the Conservation Reserve Program to 25 million acres from 32
million acres, and would cut more than $1 billion from the Conservation
Stewardship Program. The bill would eliminate the Wildlife Habitat
Incentives Program, and would merge the Wetlands Reserve Program, Grassland
Reserve Program, and Farm & Ranch Protection Program into a single easement
The bill also fails to put in place provisions
that would save taxpayer funds while delivering conservation benefits. A
nation-wide SodSaver provision would remove the current incentives for
farmers to break out native prairie. Requiring that farmers who take
subsidized crop insurance agree not to drain wetlands ("Swampbuster") and
maintain a soil conservation plan ("conservation compliance") would restore
an important compact between the farmers who receive farm program benefits
and taxpayers to protect our natural resources.
Please call, write or
email Representative Jeff Fortenberry today!! Ask him to:
OPPOSE FURTHER CUTS TO CONSERVATION
PROGRAMS that provide fish and wildlife habitat in Nebraska,
including the Conservation Reserve Program and Conservation Stewardship
SUPPORT A NATION-WIDE SODSAVER PROVISION,
like that proposed by Reps. Noem and Walz, to reduce the federal incentive
to break out rare native prairie.
SUPPORT RE-LINKING SWAMPBUSTER, SODBUSTER
and CONSERVATION COMPLIANCE WITH CROP INSURANCE, to save taxpayer
money and restore this basic promise.
SUPPORT MANDATORY FUNDING FOR ENERGY
PROGRAMS including the Rural Energy for America Program and the new
Rural Energy Savings Programs that was included in the Senate bill.
Telephone Rep. Fortenberry's office at:
(402) 438-1598 (Lincoln)
(202) 225-4806 (Washington, DC)
Write to him at:
Representative Jeff Fortenberry
301 South 13th, Suite 100
Lincoln, NE 68508
or contact his
office online here.