In partnership with the Land Trust Alliance, land trust leaders from across the nation were in Washington D.C. last month, including Palmer’s Executive Director, Rebecca Jewett. The goal of the trip was to meet with elected officials over the reauthorization of the 2014 Farm Bill, which includes important support for private land conservation. The Farm Bill failed to pass the House last week with a 198-213 vote, but that doesn’t mean it is the end. The work supporting farmers and ranchers throughout the country continues as does the push for a way forward.
The Farm Bill and Conservation Work
Currently included in the Bill is $500 million for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) which provides matching funds that land trusts can use to purchase conservation easements; an update to the Agricultural Land Easement Program (ALE) which is a voluntary conservation easement program that protects working farms and ranches; and funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to support the coordinated conservation of natural resources at both national and state levels.
Farm Bill conservation programs, when taken together, are the single largest federal source of funding for private land conservation. These components of the Farm Bill are necessary to streamline and increase the flexibility of programs, and guarantee funding for this important conservation focus.
Where We Go from Here
According to the Land Trust Alliance: “As we review our options to pass the new Farm Bill, we remain hopeful Congress will find a way to pass legislation this year that is reflective of our priorities."
We stand with the Land Trust Alliance, the farmers and ranchers that do so much to support our country, and all the other partners who are invested in reviewing options and pressing forward.