Farm Bill Update
Last-minute negotiations continue on the Farm Bill, but there are very positive rumors about both the tax incentive for conservation easement donations, and about funding for key easement programs.
Press reports indicate that the conferees have agreed to a two-year extension of the conservation easement incentive, and that they have agreed to allocate five year totals of more than $1 billion to Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (nearly twice the funding in the 2002 Farm Bill), and $300 million for the Grassland Reserve Program (about $50 million more than in the 2002 Bill). We expect good policy changes – including multi-year cooperative agreements for FRPP that will preclude precipitous rules changes for program participants.
This is great news, BUT:
- There still is not a final deal between the House and Senate;
- The White House is still saying they are very unhappy with the legislation as a whole, and may veto it; and,
- The conferees have been discussing new limits on payments from conservation programs (including the easement programs), and limits that could restrict who would be eligible to participate that could impact Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and some landowners.
We will keep you informed!
What We Need To Do
Please contact your Representative and Senators, thank them for the conservation provisions mentioned above, tell them how important they are for your area, and ask them to support passage of the Farm Bill.