2018 Farm Bill Advocacy Needed in September
All Hands on Deck in September to Make 2018 Farm Bill Conservation Measures as Grasslands-Friendly as Possible
Many thanks to all who advocated for strong conservation measures in the House and then the Senate versions of the 2018 Farm Bill this past spring. Now, we need your help again!
The U.S. Senate and House have voted to send their respective versions of the Farm Bill to conference and announced their conferees (47 in the House and 9 in the Senate). Conferees will be crafting a final Farm Bill, drawing upon the House and Senate versions. Their first meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 5 and their deadline for finalizing the 2018 Farm Bill is Sept. 30, 2018.
The only conferee from Missouri is U.S. Representative Vicki Hartzler; if you live in her district, reaching out to her offices is very important. If you don’t live in her district, it is still important to reach your U.S. Representative, and ask him or her to convey your message to Congresswoman Hartzler, and to Senators McCaskill and Blunt, and ask them to convey your message to their colleagues in the Senate who are conferees.
Actions to take:
1. Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators McCaskill and Blunt, and convey these specific requests. Find your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators' contact information here.
Here are the key requests (read details here about each one):
Ask: Please support full funding for the conservation title in the 2018 Farm Bill, with no cuts to the 10-year baseline.
Ask: Please support increasing the minimum amount of funds within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program required to be used for wildlife habitat conservation practices annually from 5 percent to 10 percent.
Ask: Please support a strengthened and expanded Sodsaver provision in the final Farm Bill
Ask: Please oppose anti-environmental riders to the Farm Bill
Ask: Please support the provision in the Senate bill that removes barriers within the crop insurance program for farmers who want to adopt conservation practices such as cover crops?
Ask: Please support an increased CRP cap that does not come at the expensive of high quality practice or interest in the program.
Ask: Please protect the linkage between conservation compliance and crop insurance subsidies, and oppose any efforts to weaken wetland compliance.
Ask: Please support a native vegetation mandate to realize the most benefits for the land and wildlife, and to make best use of tax dollars.
2. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, to urge other citizens to also contact their members of Congress. A sample letter is here.
3. MPF works with the National Wildlife Federation on Farm Bill advocacy. You can help also by signing on to this letter, which NWF will send to 2018 Farm Bill Conferees. This takes only a few seconds!
For more background on the 2018 Farm Bill, listen to this spring 2018 podcast from Brandon Butler with the Conservation Federation of Missouri and from MPF, President Dale Blevins and Executive Director Carol Davit.
Photo credit: Dickcissel on Pettis County prairie by Bruce Schuette