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House Passes Farm Bill, Senate Next

Advocates Alert: May 14, 2008

This afternoon, the House of Representatives passed the Farm Bill, including a 2-year extension of the conservation tax incentive, by a margin of 318 to 106. This 73% yes vote is substantially more than the 2/3 majority which would be necessary to override a presidential veto, greatly improving the chances that this measure will become law.

The Senate could vote as early as tomorrow morning, so please call your Senators this evening and urge them to pass the Farm Bill.

Please call each of your Senators (Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121) and convey the following message:

  • "The Farm Bill contains important provisions for conservation in our state, including a two-year extension of a tax incentive that helps farmers conserve their land. As a [supporter, employee, board member, etc] of [land trust] I urge you to vote for final passage of the Farm Bill, H.R. 2419."

We're asking you to help us pass the Farm Bill (H.R. 2419) because it includes important new tools for land trusts. This bill:

  • Extends the tax incentive for conservation easement donations until December 31, 2009! This two-year extension is retroactive to January 1 and includes no other substantive changes.
  • Provides a total of $733 million over 5 years for the Farmland Protection Program. It also clarifies the eligibility of land trusts to participate directly and specifies the following funding levels: $97M in FY08, $121M in FY09, $150M in FY10, $175M in FY11 and $200M in FY12.
  • Re-establishes the Grassland Reserve Program with an acreage goal of 1.22 million acres, funded with an estimated $300M.

This Farm Bill is not perfect, but it contains these top land trust priorities and the only way for us to get these things is to pass the bill. Your phone calls tonight, and in support of override votes, if necessary, will truly make a difference.

Click here for a list of how each Representative voted
. After calling your Senators, please take a moment to call and thank Representatives who voted for the bill. We will need their support again if the President follows through on his veto threat.

Thanks for helping at this critical time! We're almost there!

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Advocates Alerts

February 12: The House successfully voted 279-137, demonstrating a supermajority (67%) of support, on H.R. 644, a package of charitable incentives including the conservation tax incentive.Now we need your help in the Senate to secure co-sponsors! Sens. Heller and Stabenow have requested land trusts’ assistance in asking senators to cosponsor S. 330, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. Learn more »

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