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Farm Bill Update

Advocates Alert: April 30, 2008

 

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.

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Advocates Alerts

July 17: The House just voted 277-130 to pass the charities package! 56 Democrats joined their Republican colleagues to support charitable giving incentives, including the enhanced easement incentive - the second-highest number of defections after the research and development tax credit. Several others spoke on the floor in support of the conservation easement incentive, and other favorable charitable incentives. Thank you to organizations like Ducks Unlimited, CSF and others that reached out to Congressional offices over the last few days or alerted their membership of this important vote. Now, we pivot to the Senate.
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