Federal Bills Recognize Locally-Led ConservationMon, 21 Jul 2014 10:09:42 CDT
The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is kicking off its Soil Health Forum and Conservation Tour in Indianapolis by praising a bipartisan resolution-recently introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate--expressing support for voluntary, incentive based, private land conservation implemented through cooperation with local soil and water conservation districts.
"The growing world population of nine billion by 2050 will require an affordable, safe and abundant supply of food, fiber and fuel," said NACD President Earl Garber. "In order to meet the increased demand on the resource base, the voluntary, incentive-based approach to private land conservation will be more important than ever. The nearly 3,000 conservation districts across the nation must play an ever-increasing role, in partnership with local, state and federal partners, in working with producers and landowners on the education, planning and implementation of conservation at the local level."
The House resolution, H.Con.Res.95, was introduced by U.S. Representative Richard Hudson, representing North Carolina's Eighth Congressional District. On August 4, 1937, due to the efforts of Anson County native Dr. Hugh Hammond Bennett, Brown Creek became the first Soil Conservation District in America. "North Carolina is one of the most scenic and unique states in the country," said Hudson. "As an avid hunter and outdoorsman, I have a great appreciation for North Carolina's natural treasures. Protecting our natural resources through voluntary, incentive-based, private land conservation is a fiscally responsible and thoughtful approach to maintaining long-term sustainable growth for our state and the entire country."
An identical Senate version S.Con.Res.39 was introduced by Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, home to the nation's first state conservation agency. "I appreciate the National Association of Conservation Districts tireless efforts to keep our country-and my home state of Arkansas-natural," Pryor said. "When I talk about conservation to my colleagues in the Senate, I remind them that conservation isn't just about agriculture or sportsmen-it's about protecting the future of our nation. That's why I'm proud to introduce this resolution to voice my strong support of private land conservation."
Senator Joe Donnelly (IN)-a speaker at this morning's Soil Health Forum and a cosponsor of Senate Resolution-also expressed support for locally-led natural resource conservation. "While everyone benefits from conservation of our natural resources, no one has more desire to promote and ensure water quality and soil health than our farmers," said Donnelly. "Hoosier farmers and their families live on the land, they drink and use the water, and their livelihood is dependent on the land's productivity. Voluntary, incentive-based conservation techniques are important to provide farmers with the resources and technical assistance they need to develop locally driven resource conservation."
NACD is calling on all Senators and Representatives to support locally-led conservation by signing on as cosponsors of the bipartisan concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress regarding support for voluntary, incentive-based, private land conservation implemented through cooperation with local soil and water conservation districts.
"We are extremely pleased to see our representatives in Washington expressing support for locally-led, natural resource conservation and its critical value to our nation's economic and food security," said Garber. "The cause of conservation crosses geographic, political and economic boundaries; it is truly something that everyone can and should support. Caring for our natural resources is one of the greatest legacies we can leave for our future generations," said Garber.
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