Groups call on Congress to double funds for land stewardship


Farm, wildlife and environmental groups from the Sierra Club to the National Farmers Union on Wednesday called on lawmakers to increase funding for USDA land management programs by $ 50 billion. The money would be part of the budget reconciliation bill that would accompany the infrastructure bill currently being debated in the Senate.

“Our current programs meet only a fraction of the needs for voluntary landscape conservation,” said a letter signed by 216 groups, including four dozen national organizations. “We are therefore urging Congress to double investment in farm law conservation programs and increase funding for conservation technical assistance accordingly.” ”

Agricultural policy consultant Ferd Hoefner said funding would double to $ 50 billion over 10 years, which he called “a very significant investment.”

President Biden proposed a modest increase in land stewardship spending, of around $ 300 million a year, in his long delayed budget in May. Soil and water conservation advocates say more spending is needed to meet Biden’s goal of making U.S. agriculture the first in the world to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

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