OACD Leaders Support Senate Agriculture Committee "Chairwoman's Mark" of Farm Bill Conservation TitleFri, 20 Apr 2012 17:35:05 CDT
Leaders of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) today voiced their support for the Conservation Title contained in the proposed version of the Farm Bill released today by Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. According to Joe Parker, President of OACD, the language in the proposed farm bill would continue providing farmers and ranchers the tools they need to practice good conservation on the land.
"We are very happy with the work done by Chairwoman Stabenow in crafting a conservation title that allows us to continue the work of protecting our soil, water, air and wildlife habitats through voluntary, locally-led means," Parker said. "While the language proposed today does reduce conservation spending overall, we feel it creates an overall program that will still allow us the ability to protect our environment while producing the food and fiber needed to feed and clothe the world."
According to Parker, the proposed Conservation Title released by Chairwoman Stabenow streamlines several conservation programs in an effort to increase efficiency and reduce complexity. Some programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) are to be consolidated in a manner to ensure the original purpose of the programs are maintained while reducing administrative confusion and oversight. The overall reform effort of the Conservation Title should result in a combined savings of $6 billion to the federal government.
Clay Pope, Executive Director of OACD said that while the need for natural resource protection have never been greater, Oklahoma Conservation leaders understand that everyone must do their part to help balance the budget.
"Those of us who work in conservation understand the importance of getting our fiscal house in order," Pope said. "At the same time we have to make sure that our soil, water, air and wildlife habitats are protected if we are going to feed and clothe the world while protecting the health of the planet we live on. We feel that the proposed changes to the Conservation Title proposed by Senator Stabenow allows us to do all of these things without sacrificing the hard work farmers, ranchers and other landowners have done to protect our environment going back to the days of the dust bowl. This title will also allow us to continue to move forward in the important work of protecting our natural resources on private land. We're glad to support it and we look forward to working to make sure the final version of the farm bill contains similar conservation language."
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