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Farm Bill on Hold--Help Save $1.58 Billion for Easements

Advocates Alert: July 23, 2012


7/26/12 UPDATE: Late Breaking News on the Farm Bill

Next week, the House will bring up a bill to extend the 2008 Farm Bill for a year and provide emergency drought aid to farmers and ranchers. We are supporting the extension, which could, ironically, provide a procedural mechanism for the House and the Senate to finish up the new Farm Bill they've been working on before the October 1 deadline. 7/27/12 UPDATE: It appears the extension bill may be drafted in a way that would preclude this maneuver. We will continue evaluating the bill and will share updates here and to the Farm Bill email list.


 

With the August recess just two weeks away, House leaders have not yet scheduled a vote on the Farm Bill. Whatever controversies you may have heard about the overall bill, we believe the conservation title is strong, and prompt passage is our best opportunity to secure the $1.58 billion it allots for Agricultural Land Easements.

Urge Your Rep to Seek a Farm Bill Vote


Despite sailing through the House Agriculture Committee on a vote of 35 to 11, Republican leaders in the House are hesitant to schedule floor time for the Farm Bill. They fear that many in their own party will oppose it for not cutting enough from food stamps and other nutrition programs, while many Democrats will oppose it for cutting too much.

The Alliance remains focused on the conservation programs that provide direct benefits to land trusts and the landowners they work with. The good news is that, thanks to your advocacy, the House bill includes $1.58 billion for Agricultural Land Easements and our programs have not emerged as a source of controversy. More details on the House bill.

That success is at risk! Failure to pass the bill before recess (beginning August 4) would make it far less likely that Congress will agree to a new 5-year Farm Bill before it expires on October 1. Our programs could disappear under a return of the antiquated 1949 bill, or a short-term extension could lead to more severe cuts next year.

Please contact your representative today:

  1. Call your House rep (Switchboard: 202-225-3121) and ask to speak with his or her agriculture staffer
  2. Tell them how much these Farm Bill programs matter to your land trust and the landowners in their district.
  3. Ask them to urge House leaders to act on the FARRM Act (H.R. 6083) -- before recess.
  4. If your representative is on the committee and voted for the bill, please thank them and urge them to keep pressure on leadership to advance the bill!

Read more at www.lta.org/farmbill.

Site Visits Inspired a Promising Farm Bill -- Schedule Yours Now


Check out this month's eNews for the inspiring story of local land trusts that took House Agriculture Committee members Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Scott Tipton (R-CO) on tours of conserved farmland in their districts. Their subsequent efforts in committee are a big reason why we're celebrating a positive outcome today. Now it's your turn! Congress is in Recess August 4 - September 9 and NOW is the time to schedule:


Become a More Effective Advocate -- Attend Our Rally Seminar


Want to take your advocacy to the next level? Please join us for a full-day advocacy seminar at Rally 2012 in Salt Lake City:

Advocating for Conservation: How Do I Get from Here to There?
Saturday, September 29, 9:00am - 5:00pm
$150 (member) / $180 (non-member)
Sticker shock? Stipends may be available. Contact policy@lta.org.

Everyone advocates for something. Are you effective and is it time well spent? This highly interactive course addresses the political opportunities and challenges facing land conservation. You will leave armed with an action plan and the necessary skills for building relationships with public officials and the media at the local, state and national levels. Case studies from across the country will help shed light on what works, what doesn't, and why.

Rally's early registration discount is available through August 3 and hotels are filling fast. Learn more and register online today!


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September 11: The Senate is back in session now for two weeks before recessing until after the midterm elections.there is still an opportunity to create a surge of support in the Senate for taking up the House-passed charitable giving package, which includes the tax incentive for conservation easement donations. Please ask your Senators to speak to leadership in support of the incentive, and to give a brief statement on the floor. please take a few minutes to read about our proposed 2015 work and answer our brief survey about how our team can better represent you in 2015
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