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Action Alert – May 2014

House Would Slash Farm Conservation Funding!

Contact Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and Sen. Mike Johanns Today!

Just months after Congress approved a new five-year Farm Bill — one that made substantial cuts to USDA conservation programs — Congress is considering even larger cuts to key programs.

Contact Representative Jeff Fortenberry and Senator Mike Johanns today and ask them to oppose cuts to USDA conservation programs, and to oppose legislative riders on the Agriculture Appropriations bill!

On May 20, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture voted to advance a funding bill for 2015 that would slash key Farm Bill conservation and energy programs by over $400 million. The proposed cuts are to programs that are supposed to receive mandatory funding under the Farm Bill, including:

* A $1.67 billion cut to the Conservation Stewardship Program, which would cut about 1 million acres from the 10 million acres approved earlier;

* A $60 million cut — about 14% — from the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which provides funds to help farmers restore and protect wetlands and prairies through conservation easements;

* A $209 million cut to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program — about 13% — which provides help to ranchers installing better grazing systems, and helps farmers trying to reduce their pesticide, fertilizer and water use; and

* A 40% cut to the Rural Energy for America Program, which would cut $20 million that was to be used for on-farm energy audits and renewable energy projects, and a 40% cut to the Biomass Crop Assistance Program which helps landowners grow energy crops for next generation bio-energy.

Sometimes, appropriations bills become targets for ‘riders’ that attempt to restrict federal agencies from taking actions.

Nebraska Representative Jeff Fortenberry serves on the House Appropriations Committee, which will likely take up the bill in the next few days. Senator Mike Johanns serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which may take up its version of the bill any day.

Contact Rep. Fortenberry and Sen. Johanns today, and ask them to:

OPPOSE cuts to USDA conservation and energy programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program, Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Rural Energy for America Program, and Biomass Crop Assistance Program; and

OPPOSE policy ‘riders’ on the Appropriations bill.

Representative Jeff Fortenberry
(202) 225-4806  Washington office
(402) 438-1598  Lincoln office
or send an email from here  [link: http://fortenberry.house.gov/email-and-contact-center1/]
Senator Mike Johanns
(402) 224-4224  Washington office
(402) 476-1400  Lincoln office
or send an email from here  [link: http://www.johanns.senate.gov/]

USDA conservation programs provide over $150 million per year to help Nebraskans provide a place for wildlife on farms and ranches and be better stewards of our natural resources. Thanks for helping!