Wednesday, March 9, 2016

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on the appropriations process

Today, a broad alliance of 254 farm, conservation, and nutrition groups delivered a letter to the House and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees, urging them not to re-open the 2014 Farm Bill through budget reconciliation or through the FY17 appropriations process. The letter calls upon the Budget and Appropriations Committees to leave the determining of farm bill funding levels to the existing, rigorous farm bill debate process, and not attempt to reset committed funding levels through appropriations.
Greg Fogel, Senior Policy Specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition offered these observations:
“NSAC has consistently advocated against using the annual appropriations process to re-open the farm bill and cut conservation program assistance to farmers and ranchers. Year after year, however, the Appropriations Committees have used this process to reset funding levels already agreed to during the farm bill debate. Over the last several years, appropriations bills have cut farm bill mandatory funding for agricultural programs, particularly for conservation programs, by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Last month, in a move widely praised by NSAC and other sustainable food and agriculture groups, the Administration released an FY17 budget request that included no cuts to farm bill funding for private lands conservation programs. These conservation programs, which include the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), are a primary means through which farmers, ranchers, and foresters build soil health, prepare for extreme weather, limit water pollution, and enhance wildlife habitat
254 farm, conservation, and nutrition groups have today come together to urge the Budget and Appropriations Committees to leave farm bill mandatory funding, for conservation and all other farm bill programs, intact. Decisions regarding the funding levels for these programs should be left to the Agriculture Committees to determine during their farm bill debates.”

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