Farm Bill Should Promote Land Conservation

May 17th, 2018


Category: Commentary, Farm Bill, Food Safety, Grains, Miscellaneous

( –In Missouri, natural grasslands and conservation farming practices help prevent flooding and soil erosion, and contribute to clean air, wildlife and recreation. Most land in Missouri is privately owned and controlled, and when the farmers, ranchers and recreationists who own this land manage it wisely, all of society gains.

Conservation provisions of the federal farm bill provide incentives for private owners to practice conservation. The farm bill is up for reauthorization by Congress this year. Congress has considered this bill about every five years since the first one passed in 1933.

The farm bill is a massive and complex piece of legislation, covering many aspects of farm policy, food and nutrition policy, and conservation. It is the largest source of funding for conservation on private lands. About 90 percent of Missouri is in private ownership. So, for Missouri, the farm bill will directly affect the quality of soil, water, air and wildlife for all of us.

Farm bill conservation programs are voluntary and popular, often having long wait lists for farmers and ranchers to participate. It is critical that the 2018 farm bill provide robust funding for these programs.

The National Wildlife Federation, the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Prairie Foundation advocate for several farm bill provisions that would protect prairies and other native grasslands, increase use of native plants in grassland restoration and management, increase acreage caps for conservation reserve lands, provide funding for wildlife-friendly practices and pollinator habitat enhancement, and encourage ranchers to use rotational grazing practices that benefit wildlife and pollinators.

We should let members of Congress know that Missouri’s soil, water and wildlife are important.



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