For the last two and half decades, farmers have agreed to practice basic conservation practices on designated vulnerable lands in return for receiving certain federal benefits.
As a result, farmers have saved millions of acres of wetlands and kept billions of tons of soil on farms, ensuring that millions of acres of marginal, erosion-prone soil have remained healthy and productive.
As Congress reauthorizes the farm bill, it is critical that the conservation gains that have made over the last 25 years be maintained by reattaching the crop insurance premium assistance to conservation compliance.
The report, Conservation Compliance: A 25-Year Legacy of Stewardship [PDF], by former USDA Deputy Secretary and Co-Chair of AGree Jim Moseley, explains how conservation compliance, which has historically required farmers to implement conservation measures in return for federally funded farm support, has helped save millions of wetland acres over the last 25 years while keeping billions of tons of soil on farms.
As a result, millions of marginal, erosion-prone lands have remained healthy and productive.
Explains Moseley, who served as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2001 to 2005:
Few conservation programs can boast the success rate of conservation compliance. This program has helped farmers save 295 million tons of soil per year and kept an estimated 1.5 million to 3.3 million acres of vulnerable wetlands from being drained. The results of this compact between farmers and taxpayers have been astounding.
In addition to highlighting the successes of conservation compliance, Conservation Compliance: A 25-Year Legacy of Stewardship [PDF] dispels several myths about conservation compliance and presents key facts about the program, including:
- Conservation compliance is a reasonable expectation in exchange for the significant safety-net benefits the public provides for producers.
- Most producers are already in compliance.
- Re-attaching crop insurance premiums to conservation compliance will lead to minimal administrative burden.
- Conservation compliance includes common-sense protections for farmers.
- Conservation compliance saves money.
Download the Full Report, Conservation Compliance: A 25-Year Legacy of Stewardship [PDF], or the Executive Summary [PDF].