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Call Your Senators Today: Save Ag Conservation Programs

Advocates Alert: June 28, 2011

Today is a national day of action -- please call both your U.S. Senators today and ask them to reject House cuts to farm conservation programs!

The agriculture appropriations bill just passed by the House of Representatives dramatically slashes funding for conservation, including major cuts to the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and the Grassland Reserve Program -- the two largest sources of federal funding for conservation by land trusts. 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.

We CAN persuade the Senate to NOT go down the same path as the House. Senate appropriators have saved these programs before, but in the current climate of budget cuts it will take coordinated action, generating many constituent calls on one day, to break through and make conservation programs a priority.

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

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

  • Please work to restore the cuts the House made to farm conservation programs in their Agriculture Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2112).
  • Protect our working farms and ranches -- we lose more than one acre of farmland every minute. 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.
  • Thank them for their time.

Please forward this alert to your friends and colleagues. You'd be surprised how few constituents actually bother to pick up the phone and talk with Senate staff about issues like this -- a half dozen calls can make a big difference!

Deadline Extended: Sign the Second Conservation Funding Letter

With so many simultaneous efforts to defend against attacks on conservation funding, it's easy to get confused, but we are asking for your help signing one more letter:

So far, just 26 land trusts have signed the letter featured in last Monday's Advocates alert. (Over 150 land trusts signed an earlier letter circulated by TNC.) This second letter goes to different people -- House and Senate leadership -- urging them to avoid disproportionate cuts to wildlife conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation programs in the current debt limit negotiations.

The deadline has been extended to Wednesday, June 29. To sign the new letter, please reply to advocates@lta.org with your organization name and how many individual members you represent.

Yes, the Congress needs to rein in federal expenditures -- but natural resources programs comprise just 1.2 percent of federal spending, and have grown less than 3 percent over the past 30 years! Our steadfast commitment and sustained efforts are essential to keeping conservation program cuts in proportion with other areas of government.

Thanks for being an Advocate!


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