NACD testifies before House subcommittee on farm bill conservation programs

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NACD testifies before House subcommittee on farm bill conservation programs

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2015 — National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) First Vice President Brent Van Dyke this morning in a hearing of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry on the implementation of conservation programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. Van Dyke highlighted NACD’s conservation program priorities, and stressed the importance of locally-led conservation to America’s long-term environmental and economic stability.

“Our nation’s farmers and landowners deserve to have long-term certainty to effectively and efficiently manage their land,” said Van Dyke. “Not only do Farm Bill conservation programs play a key role in supporting clean air, clean water and productive soils, they also help producers avoid unnecessary regulation and promote our nation’s food security and sustainability.”

Implementation of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program is a top priority for NACD, as conservation districts were one of the most highly represented entities among the selected proposals for the RCPP’s first year.

“It has always been our philosophy that every acre counts,” said Van Dyke. “The Regional Conservation Partnership Program allows us to reach beyond the traditional scope of partners and projects. The program expands our opportunities to reach a higher level of commitment to conservation delivery on the working landscape in America.”

Local soil and water conservation districts also partner closely with NRCS to enroll landowners in other key programs that enable landowners to best manage natural resources on their land including the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Increasing funds for Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) remains a top priority for conservation districts in FY16 Agriculture Appropriation funding. “Districts are uniquely positioned to work with NRCS, Technical Service Providers and other partners to expand CTA capacity to get more conservation on the ground,” said Van Dyke.

In addition, NACD supports maintaining all mandatory conservation program funding for FY16 as allocated in the 2014 Farm Bill, and opposes any cuts to Farm Bill conservation programs during the appropriations process.

To view Van Dyke’s full testimony, click here .

A life-long resident of New Mexico, Van Dyke is a retired Agriculture Education teacher and FFA advisor. He and his wife farm irrigated alfalfa and coastal Bermuda hay in Lea County and run a commercial and registered cattle operation in Southeastern New Mexico.

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The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit: www.nacdnet.org.

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