Farm Bill Updates & Archive
2014 FarmBill Advocates Updates
- February 4: Breaking - Senate Passes Farm Bill
- January 28: Urge Your Rep. To Vote Yes on the Farm Bill Tomorrow
- January 27: Breaking News: $1.3 Billion for Working Lands!
- December 13: House Passes Farm Bill Extension
- November 26: Your Personal Calls Are Working to Preserve Farm Bill Funding
- October 30: Farm Bill Conference Starts Today!
- October 23: Time to Act Now to Preserve Farm Bill Funding
- October 14: Finally...House Moves on Farm Bill!
- October 2: Senate Sets Stage for Conference
- September 30: Farm Bill Expires Today - What's Next?
- August 1: Act Now to Impact Final Farm Bill
- July 26: The Best Offense Is a Good Defense
- July 11: House Passes Farm Bill on Second Attempt
- July 1: Pushing for a Full Five-Year Farm Bill
- June 20: Breaking - House Rejects Farm Bill
- June 18: Time For Action - House Takes Up Farm Bill
- June 10: Breaking News- Senate Passes Farm Bill
- Update - June 6
- The Senate voted today to invoke cloture on debate, setting up a vote for 5:30pm on Monday, June 10. Watch the proceedings here.
- June 3: New Round of Funding for GRP/FRP
- Update - May 24
- Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) spoke yesterday on the Senate floor about conservation programs within the Farm Bill, and specifically about conservation easements. Watch his remarks here.
- Update - May 22
- The Senate is now debating S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 on the floor. A vote is expected, though not guaranteed, this week. Earlier, the White House issued a Statement of Administrative Policy supporting the Senate’s bill, despite the Administration’s opposition to cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps). Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office updated their score of the bill to $955 billion (from 2014 to 2023).
- The House is expected to vote on H.R. 1947, the Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (FARRM) in June.
- Despite cutting billions of dollars from what last year’s bills would have spent, both bills gave us essentially the same funding for purchasing easements on farms and ranches that we got in last year’s versions -- $1.38 billion.
- If both bills are passed in their present forms there will be a consensus on the construction of the new Agriculture Land Easement Program and because the cost share waiver is included in the Senate bill, it will be a topic of discussion when both chambers go to conference to finalize the bill. Unfortunately, similar language was not included in the House version, despite Representative Sean Maloney (D-NY) presenting an amendment supported by Representatives Chris Gibson (R-NY) and John Garamendi (D-CA). All three rose in defense of this vision but after the chairman expressed opposition; they withdrew the amendment before a vote, while pledging to continue to work on the issue.
- May 16: Call Your Senators Today
- Update May 14: Senate Committee Approves Key Conservation Amendment
The first step to victory for increasing cost-share flexibility for land trust match in the new Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) program has been achieved. Senator Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) allows the Secretary of Agriculture to waive any portion of an eligible entity’s required 25% cash contribution which can be matched by an equal increase in a voluntary landowner donation (currently limited to 25%). This is limited to projects of special significance (to be defined by the Secretary);for example historically important agricultural land or critical wildlife habitat. The federal share still cannot exceed 50% of the total value of the total purchase price of the easement. The unanimous passage of Senator Bennet’s amendment was the result of many moving pieces falling into place—the activation of the land trust community, and the Senator’s passionate leadership and support of conservation positioned this issue for success. The amendment was voted on during markup of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, which passed out of the Senate Agriculture Committee by a vote of fifteen to five. In the House, a similar amendment (#65) supported by Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Chris Gibson (R-NY) and John Garamendi (D-CA) is being voted on by the Agriculture Committee today.
The key element of this triumph is you—the land trust community. Leaders in conservation from all across the country reached out directly to their members of Congress to help them better understand the importance of their work and the direct relevance that it represents to their surrounding communities. However, this is just the first step. The House amendment must still get through the House Ag Committee and passed in full by both chambers, but your help is what will get this over the finish line.
- Senator Bennet press release on the Farm Bill, with quote by Lynne Sherrod
- Full text of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, S. 954
Read more on the cost-share waiver amendment:
Conservation Program Appropriations
In theory, the funding levels specified by each five-year farm bill are automatic, but the appropriations committees can, and often do, impose caps. These cuts are doubly painful as they also reduce the “baseline” available for conservation programs in the subsequent farm bill. You can help prevent these cuts by getting to know members of the House and Senate appropriations committees from your state, and particularly any members of their agriculture subcommittees (House and Senate lists).
FRPP and GRP weren't cut in the first four years under the 2008 Farm Bill, bringing FRPP to a record $175 million in fiscal year 2011 and allowing GRP to proceed towards its acreage goal of 1.22 million acres. For fiscal year 2012, however, FRPP was cut to $150 million, GRP acreage cap was reduced by 30%, and other conservation programs sustained more severe cuts (). Please see our recent updates for details:
- September 11, 2012: 6-Month Funding Bill Boosts Most Programs -- Except for Ag Easements
- February 15, 2012: President’s Budget Would Fully Fund FRPP, Boost LWCF
- November 20, 2011: FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Enacted with Smaller GRP Cut
- October 19, 2011: McCain Amendment Would Slash Conservation, Farm Bill Fast-Tracked
- September 21, 2011: FRPP, GRP and Charitable Deduction at Risk
- June 23, 2011: Conservation Funding at Risk -- Calls Needed to Your Senators
- June 9, 2011: House Cuts Farm Bill Easement Programs
- April 14, 2011: Budget Deal Restores Most Conservation Funding
- February 18, 2011: House Republicans, President Obama Battle Over Budgets