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Conservation Funding at Risk -- Calls Needed to Your Senators

Advocates Alert: June 23, 2011

A broad coalition of conservation groups is asking their members to call their U.S. Senators next Tuesday, to ask them to restore cuts in farm conservation programs made by the House.  We’d like you to call -- and we’d like you to consider asking your land trust’s members to call, too.

The agriculture appropriations bill just passed by the House of Representatives dramatically slashes funding for conservation, including major cuts in the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program and the Grasslands Reserve Program.  These cuts are a double whammy, in that cuts now affect the budget baseline available for conservation programs in the next farm bill.

The House-passed bill cuts farm bill conservation funding by $1 billion for Fiscal Year 2012.  This comes on top of $500 million in cuts in the fiscal year 2011 bill. These cuts target crucial and effective programs that are already oversubscribed with a long waiting list of farmers wanting for conservation funding.

The only place these cuts can be changed is the Senate.

Yes, the Congress needs to rein in federal expenditures – but conservation and natural resources spending is only 1.2 percent of federal spending, and has grown less than 3% over the past 30 years!

Please call both your Senators Tuesday, June 28th and ask them to reject the House’s cuts to farm conservation programs! Why the 28th?  Frankly, we are trying to coordinate action by conservationists across the country to make the maximum impact.

All Senators can be reached through the Senate switchboard, at (202) 224-3121.

When you reach your Senator’s office, ask to speak to the aid working on agriculture appropriations.  Remember to introduce yourself! Ask them to:

  • Please work to restore the cuts the House made to farm conservation programs in their Agriculture Appropriations bill.
  • Protect our working farms and ranches—every minute we lose more than one acre of farmland.  Unfortunately, this isn’t work we can put off for tomorrow.  Once we lose these lands, we can’t get them back.
  • Our farm conservation programs are vitally important to water quality and providing habitat for wildlife.  What we cut in farm conservation, we will have to make up elsewhere if we want clean water and wildlife.
  • Thank them for their time.

Thank you for helping!  Please let us know if you are asking your members to call.

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