Senate Voting on Farm Bill – Support 3 Key Amendments
URGENT UPDATE 6/19/12:
Oppose the Lee Amendment to Eliminate Forest Legacy
We've just learned that Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has secured a vote on his amendment #2313, which would eliminate the Forest Legacy Program. The vote is expected on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.
Please call both of your senators TODAY (switchboard: 202-224-3121) and urge them to oppose Senator Lee's Farm Bill amendment #2313. We're optimistic the amendment will be defeated, but your senators' contribution to a resounding defeat will help to clear the slate of similar amendments and move the Farm Bill forward.
The Senate will soon vote on a new Farm Bill that provides strong funding for the Agricultural Land Easements program, which merges FRPP and GRP to create the largest single source of federal funding for land trusts. Yesterday's 90-8 vote on a motion to proceed makes passage appear likely, but we need help promoting three amendments that may be considered over the next few weeks.
LIVE VIDEO: Farm Bill Debate Underway!
- Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) champions conservation easements
- Watch live debate on C-SPAN 2 [Debate resumes at 2 pm on Tuesday]
Support Three Key Amendments for Land Trusts
Our champions have introduced three amendments to make farm bill programs more accessible for land trusts and the landowners they work with. Please take a moment to call each of your senators (switchboard: 202-224-3121), ask for their agriculture staffers, and urge them to co-sponsor the following amendments:
- Amendment #2203, introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), would restore the present FRPP requirements for cash match from local entities (the committee bill increases the cash match required in some cases), and allow the Secretary of Agriculture to waive cash match requirements for Agricultural Land Easement projects of special significance.
- Amendment #2202, also by Senators Bennet and Crapo would resolve landowner concerns by clarifying that USDA is providing funds for eligible entities to purchase easements, rather than purchasing them itself, and that its right to enforce an easement only comes into play as a backup authority. It also clarifies ranking criteria so that groups of easements need not be strictly "contiguous" to rank high.
- Amendment #2371, introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), would expand the Forest Legacy Program (FLP) to allow land trusts to hold and administer these working forest easements, if the lead state agency for the program chooses to allow it.
Ask for the staffer's email address and offer to forward:
- A fact sheet on the Bennet/Crapo Agricultural Land Easement amendments
- Press release on the Bennet/Crapo Amendments
- An information packet on Senator Merkley's Forest Legacy Program amendment
House Bill on the Way -- Make the Most of Recess
House Agriculture Committee leaders are drafting their version of the Farm Bill and the committee may take it up as soon as the week of June 18. Next week's House recess is a key opportunity to reach out to members of the House Agriculture Committee. If you live or work in a House Ag district, please use our talking points and fact sheet to reach out today!
Last Day to Sign Conservation Funding Coalition Letters
Today is the last day to add your organization's name to a pair of coalition letters that could help secure as much as $2.8 billion dollars for land conservation! If you haven't already, please take a moment to sign the following letters:
- Hold the Line on Conservation Funding in the Farm Bill [UPDATE: View the final letter]
- Support LWCF in the Transportation Bill [UPDATE: View the final letter]
Want all the latest play-by-play on the Farm Bill? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to our Farm Bill updates.
Thanks for helping.
S. 339 Co-sponsors Added Since Our Last Update:
- Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
H.R. 1964 Co-sponsors Added Since Our Last Update:
- Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS/4th)
- Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-NY/26th)
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