December 14, 2010
NACD Supports Farm Bill Conservation Programs
NACD is urging Congress to support full funding for
conservation programs authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. These
vital programs provide critical assistance for farmers,
ranchers and forest landowners to address local natural
resource concerns while producing food, fuel, feed and fiber
for the world’s growing population.
“Applied conservation on the nation's farms, ranches and
private forestlands provides clean water, healthy, productive
soils and wildlife habitat, and other important public
benefits that should not be lost,” NACD President Steve
Robinson stated in a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye
and Ranking Member Thad Cochran.
Conservation districts work with millions of cooperating
landowners and operators to manage and protect land and water
resources. Full funding of Farm Bill conservation programs
will help ensure the continuation and success of these
locally-led efforts to provide critical natural resource
benefits for communities.
Report Shows Inconsistencies in Chesapeake Bay Data Modeling
A new report finds
inconsistencies between EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Loads with
those in a recent draft USDA report. The discrepancies
related to assumptions about conservation practices and other
data used as the basis for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay “pollution
loads” model. EPA’s modeling potentially underestimates the
good progress that farmers and landowners are making in the
“Landowners have already implemented many environmental best
management practices resulting in significant reductions in
nutrient and sediment loadings in the Chesapeake Bay watershed
over the past 25 years,” NACD President Steve Robinson said.
“It's important that these efforts are fully accounted for in
EPA's modeling. Fair and accurate treatment of producer activity
is critical to ensuring maximum participation in cleanup
efforts – and in turn, a cleaner and healthier Chesapeake Bay.”
To address concerns about the accuracy of EPA’s modeling, NACD
recently entered into an agreement with NRCS to coordinate the design of a system to reliably
track the voluntary conservation practices that farmers are
already implementing in the Bay region. NACD is working with
the six Bay-region states, NRCS, EPA and other stakeholders to
design a protocol for the characterization and collection of
best management practices (BMPs) installed by agriculture
producers – with the ultimate goal of ensuring these BMPs
are counted in the EPA model.
NACD, Indiana, Wisconsin Win Grant for MRBI Work
The Walton Family Foundation (WFF) has awarded $225,000 in grant funding to NACD for policy
support and on-the-ground conservation work associated with
the Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI).
Funding under the one-year grant is designated for the
following areas: (1) public policy education by NACD, (2)
the Indiana MRBI project, through the Indiana Association
of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (IASWCD) and (3)
the Wisconsin MRBI project, through the Wisconsin Land and
Water Conservation Association (WLWCA).
The Indiana project will target watersheds where the greatest
needs have already been identified. IASWCD will document
the results through water quality monitoring, modeling and
producer surveys, in order to achieve maximum watershed
benefits in the future. The Wisconsin project seeks to identify
the highest phosphorus and nitrogen sources in the landscape
in order to direct conservation resource to the areas that need
Earlier this year, conservation districts in the Mississippi River Basin received more than $11 million
of the $30 million awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
to help landowners implement conservation practices to prevent,
control and trap nutrient runoff from agricultural land.
Congress Continues Debate on Appropriations, Taxes
Debate on Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 appropriations and the Obama
tax deal takes center stage this week on Capitol Hill.
Yesterday, the tax deal negotiated by the President and
Republican leaders moved one step closer to reality.
The Senate voted by a large, bipartisan margin to end debate
on the bill, and is expected to pass the measure in the
immediate future. The measure will then be up for consideration
in the House, where Democrats may attempt to amend the estate
tax provisions by increasing the rate and decreasing the
Next on the Senate agenda will be an omnibus appropriations
bill; it’s unclear whether it can garner the 60 votes necessary
for passage. Last week, the House passed a full-year
continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through
end of the current fiscal year at FY 2010 levels. Instead of
either a yearlong CR or omnibus, some Senate Republicans have
proposed a short-term CR until February, giving Republicans
a greater role in determining federal budget policy in the
Live Auction Deadline Approaching
The deadline for donations to the NACD Live Auction is fast approaching! To ensure your donation is featured in
the auction catalog, please submit your donation form by
Featuring your item in the catalog helps us promote the
items and bring in the maximum amount possible for each piece.
The Live Auction would not be possible each year without your
generous donations. All auction proceeds from this popular
event are used to support NACD’s legislative activities. A
few NACD favorites will be back again this year, including
the hand-made Amish quilt and the Wild Turkey Federation Gun
of the Year.
Take a moment to visit the NACD auction web page and fill out the donation form.
Lucas to Head House Ag Committee
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) has been officially elected as the
next Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. The
former Chairman of the Conservation, Credit, Rural Development
and Research Subcommittee, Lucas has a longstanding history
of working closely with conservation districts, and is a
strong advocate of the partnership between districts, NRCS
and state conservation agencies.
“Rep. Lucas has been a strong supporter of conservation over
the years, and we look forward to continuing to work closely
with him as we head into the next Congress and upcoming Farm
Bill,” NACD President Steve Robinson said. “He has played a
critical role in strengthening cooperative conservation
throughout the nation and his efforts have gone a long way
in ensuring farmers, ranchers and other landowners have the
resources necessary to protect our air land and water through
locally-led, voluntary programs on the ground.”
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