May 1, 2012
Registration Now Open for the 2012 NACD Legislative Conference
This summer, join fellow conservation leaders for NACD’s 2012 Summer Board Meeting
and Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference will take place July 16-17
(with Board meetings beginning on July 14).
This year, we’re planning an especially exciting program! On Monday, attendees will have
the unique opportunity to visit the White House to participate in a tour and briefings. After
the White House, we’ll board buses and head to the Chesapeake Bay to get a firsthand
look at conservation successes and challenges in the region, followed by a scenic tour
of the historic city of Annapolis, Md.
On Tuesday, members will head to Capitol Hill to visit with their representatives and discuss
the latest conservation policy issues.
The Conference will be held at the Washington Court Hotel,
conveniently located within walking distance of Union Station, the U.S. Capitol Building
and the National Mall. For more information and to register, click here.
NACD President Testifies at House Agriculture Subcommittee Hearing on Farm Bill
NACD President Gene Schmidt served as witness at last week’s House Agriculture
Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry
hearing, “Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill: Conservation Program.”
“While we understand the current economic climate, we must also acknowledge the investment
of putting conservation on the ground,” Schmidt said. “Investing in conservation simply
makes sense. Producers are already faced with the challenge of doing more with less,
and conservation is a tool that is available to every producer. Not only do Farm Bill
conservation programs play a key role in supporting clean air, clean water and productive
soils, they also help producers implement conservation practices through voluntary, incentive-based
methods -- rather than through a top-down regulatory approach -- as well as support
our nation’s long-term economic and food security.”
To view Schmidt’s full testimony, click here.
Complete audio and video from the hearing is available on the House Ag website.
NACD Talks to Farm Broadcasters about Conservation in the Chesapeake Bay
Last week, NACD Senior Advisor Rich Duesterhaus participated as a panelist on a Chesapeake
Bay forum hosted by the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB). The event,
held in Maryland, was part of NAFB's annual "Washington Watch" conference.
Duesterhaus highlighted conservation districts’ ongoing efforts in the Chesapeake Bay and
gave an update on NACD’s work to develop methods to gather data on voluntary conservation
practices going on in the region.
However, while good progress is being made in the Bay, Duesterhaus stressed that our
work is not done. “Significant innovation has gone on for the past 25 years,” he said. “We
just need as much, if not more, in the next 25 years.” He also pointed out that innovation is
needed in the data modeling itself. “But that shouldn’t stop us from moving forward with
what we have,” he stressed. “It’s a learning process, and we need to keep improving.”
Also participating in Duesterhaus’ panel were Bill Herz, Vice President at The Fertilizer
Institute, and William C. Baker, President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The event also
included a presentation by NRCS Chief Dave White on the importance of soil quality, a
presentation by Nicholas DiPasquale, Director of the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office.
Department of Labor Withdraws Proposed Rule Regarding Children on Farms
Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL), after feeling pressure from the agriculture
community, withdrew its proposed rule dealing with children who work in agriculture vocations.
The DOL made it clear that the department will work with rural stakeholders like the American
Farm Bureau, National Farmers Union, Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H to develop
an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer working
practices. It was also made clear that the proposed rule will not be pursued for the duration
of the Obama Administration.
The proposed rule would have restricted children under the age of 16 from working on
certain farm or ranch operations. NACD supports the withdrawal of this rule, as children
play an important role in learning about and protecting our natural resources for the future.
Senate Agriculture Committee Approves 2012 Farm Bill Language
Last Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a markup hearing of the 2012 Farm
Bill, officially titled the “Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012.”
The bill was adopted by the committee with a bipartisan vote of 16-5.There were no
amendments adopted to the conservation title or the forestry title. The following senators
voted against the bill: Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mitch McConnell
(R-KY), John Boozman (R-AR) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY).
“We’re extremely pleased that committee leadership has come up with a strong, balanced
plan that fairly recognizes the critical value of locally-led conservation at the landscape scale,”
NACD President Gene Schmidt said.
The Farm Bill will contribute at least $23 billion in deficit reduction. Though the conservation
title was cut, the easement program received increased funding as WRP and GRP had no
The adopted framework for Title II:
- Title II was cut by $6 billion over 10 years
- Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACE) was created by consolidating FRPP,
GRP and WRP. This program will have two branches, one for agriculture lands and one for
- EQIP and WHIP were consolidated, with at least a 5% of funds set aside for WHIP.
- CSP removes the 10% forestry cap and allows a total of 10.348 million acres of agriculture
and forest land for enrollment.
- CRP enrollment acreage was reduced from 32 million acres in 2012 to 25 million acres in
- Regional Conservation Partnership Program consolidated CCPI, AWEP and regional
NACD will continue to monitor this legislation as it moves forward. For more information,
NRCS Chief Dave White to Speak at CTIC Conservation In Action Tour in Mississippi
The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) recently announced that NRCS
Chief Dave White will speak at its Conservation In Action Tour in Clarksdale, Miss.
The tour, organized by CTIC and the Delta Farmers Advocating Resource Management
(Delta F.A.R.M.), is scheduled for May 30 – 31. Participants will get a first-hand look at
conservation practices in the Mississippi River Delta and nutrient management challenges
throughout the massive watershed that feeds the Gulf of Mexico.
Early Bird registration rates have been extended through May 11. Visit www.ctic.org/CIATours
for details and online registration.
Tour sponsors include The Mosaic Company and John Deere.
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