Wildlife Management Institute

WMI Outdoor News Bulletin Analysis Available on Farm Bill Conservation Programs' Status and Jeopardy
Analysis Available on Farm Bill Conservation Programs' Status and Jeopardy PDF Print E-mail

image of storm clouds over wheat field, Credit: Dom W, FlickrConservation programs and funding for them that was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill will expire at the end of the current federal fiscal year, September 30, 2012, unless Congress extends or reauthorizes the legislation, according to the Wildlife Management Institute.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) delivers conservation through more than 20 different, voluntary programs covered by the Farm Bill.  Technical assistance, cost-sharing and performance-based incentives are among primary tools USDA uses to put conservation on the ground.

Many of the programs are underwritten by mandatory funding through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation. Current concern about the federal deficit has led many members of Congress to look for opportunities to reduce future mandatory spending.  Despite being among the most effective conservation efforts ever in the country in the United State, these USDA programs are currently being closely scrutinized for reduction or elimination.

Deficit reduction will almost certainly continue to drive discussions on Capitol Hill and very likely will heavily influence conservation programs in the next Farm Bill.  A worthwhile analysis of the current situation was assembled by the Congressional Research Service in report R42093, “Agricultural Conservation in the Next Farm Bill.”  (pmr)