Update: What You Need to Know About the Farm Bill
You may have noticed the federal Farm Bill has been in the news quite a bit recently. This bill is extremely important because it can support agricultural conservation practices, which are the most cost-efficient way to reduce pollution to the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams.
CBF continues to work closely with members of Congress, urging them to support farm bill funds that will help Bay farmers save local rivers, streams, and the Bay. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
To help you navigate through all the noise, here's a quick rundown of what's happening with this program that is so important to Bay farmers as well as to everyone rolling up their sleeves to implement the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint:
- The House and Senate Agriculture Committees are working on a new Farm Bill;
- The Chesapeake Bay delegation in both the House and Senate have negotiated hard for support of Bay state farmers in the new bill, writing letters to House and Senate Agriculture Committees and urging their support of specialized, technical programs, which support farmers in areas of critical need, such as the Chesapeake Bay region;
- As you may recall, last year the Senate passed a Farm Bill, but the House failed to do so. This year, CBF has staked out a position in support of last year's Senate language and has encouraged the Chesapeake Bay delegation to do the same. Many have. We have also worked with a coalition of national and regional conservation groups to create a set of "Conservation Principles" that include support for last year's Senate language;
- CBF continues to work closely with members of Congress, urging them to support Farm Bill funds that will help Bay state farmers save local rivers, streams, and the Bay.
Meanwhile, the FY14 Budget and Appropriations process is moving forward as well. Congress is deciding how much funding it will give to conservation programs for October 1, 2013, to September 30, 2014. Several weeks ago, the House Chesapeake Bay delegation wrote a letter to the Appropriations subcommittee urging there be no cap on farm bill funding for specific programs such as the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI) and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The letter stated: "Despite financial strain, states have met many of their 2-year milestones and we are beginning to see real progress. We must continue a strong federal investment to bolster state efforts."
CBF is committed to clean water in our Bay, rivers, and streams for us and future generations. We're grateful for your support and will continue to work and walk the halls of Congress to keep clean water and a healthy Chesapeake Bay at the forefront of our representatives' minds. We will keep you posted as things progress on the Hill!
Learn more about how farm bill-supported conservation programs help farmers and the Bay in our Farmer Success Stories blog series.
Tell Congress to protect conservation programs—that are critical to restoring the Bay—in the Farm Bill!