Grassroots Advocacy

NACD knows how crucial it is for your senators and representatives to hear from you on the issues important to conservation districts. See below for information on how to reach out to your members of Congress, along with draft templates that you or your conservation districts can utilize. If you have any questions about NACD’s advocacy efforts, contact NACD Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison.

Interested in subscribing to our grassroots advocacy mailing list? Fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

President Trump’s budget requests drastic cuts to USDA’s budget and encourages private sector conservation planning. Consider writing your member of Congress today about the need for continued funding of Conservation Technical Assistance. You can also write to ask for your members’ support of legislation to repeal the SAM/DUNS requirement for NRCS cost-share assistance.

Background

As you may have heard already, on March 14 President Trump released an initial budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2018 which included a staggering 21% cut to USDA. This budget called for a reduction in staff at USDA Service Centers and encouraged a privatization of conservation planning.

On May 23, President Trump released his full budget. This budget continues to take aim at CTA, cutting this account by $91 million dollars, an approximate 13 percent cut from FY2017 spending levels. Needless to say, NACD is very concerned about these proposals. Cutting staffing and funding for Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) would severely limit the ability to address resource concerns and put conservation practices on the ground. At a time when demands on our natural resources are increasing, we need more funding for sound conservation planning and technical assistance, not less. NACD has already taken steps to combat this budget proposal but it is important for Congress to hear from conservation districts and their locally elected leaders on the importance of the CTA program which helps fund conservation planning.

We hope you will join us in calling for robust federal conservation funding by passing this along to the districts in your state! NACD is looking for as many grassroots advocates for conservation as possible to contact their member of Congress. This includes letters from conservation districts themselves, their locally elected board members, conservation district employees and the landowners who have benefited from CTA. Please take a moment to fill out the attached template letter and send it  to your Members of Congress using the following instructions. Then also please pass along this request to anyone else you think might be interested, and let us know if you have reached out so we can keep track!

District Letter Template |DOC|

Individual Letter Template |DOC|

Press Release Template |DOC|

Background

Repealing the SAM/DUNS reporting requirements is a key legislative priority for NACD. Under this policy, farmers must register with the SAM and DUNS systems in order to receive financial assistance from NRCS. These systems were designed for large government contractors, not farmers. They present an onerous burden for farmers and have caused some farmers to walk away from NRCS programs. More information on this issue is available here.

Fortunately, legislation has been introduced to address this issue. The Improving Access to Conservation Act (H.R. 1163 & S. 364) exempts farmers for the SAM and DUNS registration requirements. In order to see this bill passed and this issue resolved, we need your help! We hope you will write a letter to your members of Congress in support of this legislation and ask them to cosponsor it. You can use the template below to draft your own letter.

District Letter Template |DOC|


How to Send Your Letter:

The best way to send a letter is via e-mail (due to security protocols, mailed letters often take several weeks to arrive).

 To e-mail your member of Congress, use the find your member steps below and click on the “Contact Us” portion of their website.

  • Some members may have a direct email address or a web portal to submit your letter. Otherwise you can copy and paste the letter.
  • If it is the web portal, please fill out all the required information and copy and paste your letter into the word box.

How to Find Your Member of Congress:

House of Representatives:

  • Click on the following link and input your zip code.
  • If you need your full 9-digit zip-code, go to the Postal Service’s link here.

 Senate:

  • Click on the following link and look up your state.

Additional Resources:

  • NACD’s testimony to House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry: Conservation Policy
  • NACD’s testimony to House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry: Impacts of Environmental Regulations and Voluntary Conservation Solutions

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