|League of Conservation Voters 2008 House Scorecard description
Because farmers, ranchers and private fore … Because farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners control almost three quarters of the U.S. landscape, they have a significant impact on our air and water quality and wildlife habitat. The Department of Agriculture’s voluntary conservation programs provide critical assistance to landowners who are willing to share in the cost of protecting our environment, but these programs have been historically under funded relative to the need. More than half of those who want to enlist in voluntary conservation programs are turned away because of insufficient program funds. The farm bill’s reauthorization every five years gives Congress a chance to increase funding for these programs and to improve U.S. farm policies in ways that enhance our environment. During consideration of the 2008 farm bill conference report, Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) offered a motion to instruct House conferees to maintain the House-passed funding levels for three conservation programs: the Grassland Reserve Program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program. The House-passed farm bill provided $4.4 billion more for these three programs over 10 years than did the version of the bill passed by the Senate. The motion also instructed conferees to adopt a Senate-passed provision that barred certain federal payments for crops planted on land with no previous cropping history in order to reduce incentives to convert native prairie to crop production. convert native prairie to crop production.