American Farmland Trust Calls Conservation Compliance Critical

American Farmland Trust President and CEO Andrew McElwaine says farmers have been stuck in limbo since the farm bill expired on September 30th. He notes they haven't been able to sign up for several important farm conservation and other programs because the federal law authorizing those programs expired. According to McElwaine - the lack of farm bill action is causing significant confusion in the farm economy and uncertainty among farmers who rely on these programs to operate efficiently and economically. Farm bill conferees have started work to hammer out the differences between the farm bills passed by the House and Senate. McElwaine says conservation compliance - restoring the decades-old link between federal crop insurance assistance and the need to comply with conservation practices - is one provision AFT believes is critical to include in the final farm bill. He explains that conservation compliance - throughout its 25-year history - has annually reduced soil erosion by 295-million tons. AFT thinks it's a fair exchange - farmers protect fragile soil from erosion, important wetlands are preserved and taxpayer investments are protected through the combination of sound agricultural and conservation policy.

American Farmland Trust recently signed on to a letter from 278 other national, regional and state farm and conservation groups supporting a conservation compliance provision and a national sodsaver in the final farm bill. McElwaine says AFT looks forward to working with members of the conference committee to craft a farm bill that protects and conserves farmland across the nation.

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