The 2018 Farm Bill Legislative Update August 13, 2018
“It focuses on the 2014 farm bill because the 2018 version of the farm bill will amend the 2014 law, and, depending on what provisions are included, could make significant changes to the section dealing with conservation (Title II)….An omnibus bill is a proposed law that covers a number of diverse topics. For example, the current 2014 Farm Bill covers Commodity Programs, Conservation, Trade, Nutrition, Credit, Rural Development, Research, Forestry, Energy, Horticulture, and Crop Insurance. Because of their large size and scope, omnibus bills limit opportunities for debate and scrutiny…” Strongly encourage your Representative and Senators to insist that conservation provisions in the Senate-passed Farm Bill remain intact as delegates from both Houses negotiate a final bill this September (Farm Bill authority runs out Sept. 30th). This is an over 800-page bill, and while we can’t address everything, this is why we support the Senate version of the bill and maintain the hope that the final Farm Bill will retain strong conservation protections. These sentiments are outlined in our Position Papers, especially in the Sustainable Agriculture, Seed Diversity and Food Security Position Paper”
Despite outstanding progress since 1972, more than one third of the waters in the United States still do not meet minimum standards. Contamination from industry, agriculture, resource extractions, water providers, and households is growing faster than our institutional ability to set and enforce standards. The proliferation of excess nutrients and toxic substances pollutes our rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Critical wetlands loss and urban and agricultural run-off have increased the pollution and sediment load in our waters. Water quantity is also a problem, exacerbated by climate change. In many parts of the country, water supply is endangered by droughts, overdrafting of groundwater supplies, and diversions of scarce surface water for agricultural use and for continuing commercial and residential development.
Federal agricultural policy affects the safety and security of our nation’s food supply both now and far into the future. As more than 40 percent of land in the U.S is farmed, agricultural policy has a significant impact on many issues of concern to The Garden Club of America: climate change, water quality, air quality, native plants, invasive species, and energy use.
Restoring degraded soil and conservation of healthy soil on farms and ranches by encouraging placing conservation easements on marginal lands, practicing no tillage, planting cover crops or perennial forage, rotating crops and employing intensive rotational grazing, reducing use of fertilizer and pesticides that kill soil microorganisms, helping to mitigate climate change, and reducing runoff because of soil’s sponge-like capacity to absorb water and to sequester carbon. ● Ensuring a strong and well-funded conservation title in the Farm Bill, which represents the largest source of federal funding for conservation on private lands in our country.
SEED DIVERSITY, HEALTHY FOOD, FOOD SAFETY, AND FOOD SECURITY ● Protecting worldwide seed diversity and further study of genetically modified organisms (GMO) crops to determine safety. ● Supporting programs for increased production of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables (referred to as “specialty crops” in the farm bill), and continued advocacy for organically and locally grown food and farm-to-school initiatives. ● Recognizing the importance of pollinators and encouraging them by increasing and preserving natural habitat and supporting efforts to work with pesticide manufacturers, agricultural interests, and beekeepers to determine best management practices for pollinator health. ● Discouraging the overuse of hormones and antibiotics in livestock. ● Supporting the regulatory authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to achieve these ends.”
Letter written by Anne Neal Petri President on behalf of the Executive Board The Garden Club of America:
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is set to expire on September 30th if Congress doesn’t take action. Needless to say a similar letter from you would be great!
Current Actions suggested by PennEnvironment:
A list as long as a giant grocery shopping list: The problems keep building: However :Here’s one obvious issue:
In the face of overwhelming evidence that climate change is causing our oceans to rise, it's unacceptable that we wouldn't take these changes into account as we build roads, bridges and other infrastructure. But last month, the Trump administration rolled back rules requiring that certain infrastructure projects do just that. Tell President Trump: Now, more than ever, we need to plan for climate change and rising sea levels.