The White House Rural Council recently released a report on the economic importance of passing a comprehensive Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill outlining the importance of the Farm Bill to our nation and the affects and benefits for Americans every day, namely supporting the ongoing conservation of America’s natural resources.
Conservation is the foundation of a productive agriculture sector and a strong rural economy. By protecting our soil, water, and wildlife habitat, farmers and ranchers help ensure that our working lands and wild areas are productive for years to come. They’re also supporting outdoor recreation for millions of American sportsmen, contributing more than $640 billion to our economy each year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture works directly with farmers and ranchers to strengthen our nation’s soil and water resources. Since 2009, USDA has partnered with more than half a million farmers, ranchers, and landowners on conservation projects.
The Farm Bill is America’s largest investment supporting conservation, restoration, and management of America’s working lands. It provides a wide range of critical and successful programs to conserve our natural resources.
Additionally, a new five-year Farm Bill would strengthen USDA efforts to restore land, conserve water resources and create wildlife habitat, funding programs such as the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative and the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative.
For example, in Chesapeake Bay a new Farm Bill would enable continued conservation and restoration efforts that, according to a new report, are preventing soil erosion by 15.1 million tons annually while also reducing runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus. That’s enough to fill 150,000 train cars stretching from Washington, D.C. to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A new Farm Bill is critical to continue the wide range of conservation efforts USDA has undertaken alongside farmers and ranchers in recent years.
Strong conservation provisions must be a vital part of a new Farm Bill. Our nation depends on it, our lands depend on it, and our children’s futures depend on the expanded conservation efforts that only a comprehensive Farm Bill can provide to ensure the continued benefits of abundant natural resources, thriving rural economies, outdoor recreation, wildlife habitats, and increasingly productive agriculture.