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 district can utilize. If you have any questions about NACD’s advocacy efforts, contact NACD Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison.
NACD continues to hear of the problems NRCS has had filling vacancies and hiring the needed personnel to work with landowners. President Trump’s recently released 2019 budget request doubles down on these problems with a requested cut of almost 25% to Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA). Consider writing your member of Congress today about the need for continued funding of Conservation Technical Assistance and for Congress to address the hiring freeze at USDA.
Conservation Technical Assistance Background
Since coming into office, President Trump instituted a hiring freeze for all federal agencies. Over a year later, USDA continues to implement this hiring freeze, which we know has led to severe impacts on customer service at NRCS and has negatively impacted the agency’s ability to fully implement programs under its purview.
Cutting funding for Conservation Technical Assistance on top of limited NRCS staffing 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 is already taking 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 and the need for USDA to immediately begin filling vacancies across NRCS.
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 members of Congress. NACD encourages letters from conservation districts themselves, their locally-elected board members, conservation district employees and the landowners who have benefited from working with NRCS.
Please take a moment to fill out the attached template letter and send it to your members of Congress using the following instructions. 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!
Educational CTA Two-Pager |PDF|
Letter Template |DOC|
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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.
- Click on the following link and look up your state.
- 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