Farm Bill Extension Falls Short
Cutting, delaying key conservation programs puts native grasslands and other vital habitat at risk
After failing to pass a five year Farm Bill this past year, Congress has extended the 2008 Farm Bill for nine months as part of the fiscal crisis deal. In addition to preventing new farmers from enrolling in the Conservation Stewardship Program, the extension lacks funding for critical renewable energy programs and delays the implementation of sodsaver, a policy that would reduce federal subsidies for farmers who convert native grassland into cropland.
Julie Sibbing, Director of Agriculture and Forestry Programs for the National Wildlife Federation, had this to say in response:
“It is disappointing that Congress was unable to pass a five year Farm Bill in time. Passing a nine month extension delays much needed reforms and cuts a key incentive program for farmers wanting to implement conservation measures on their land. America’s farmers, taxpayers and wildlife deserve more than this Band-Aid fix.
“By delaying the implementation of sodsaver, Congress is allowing thousands more grassland acres to be converted for short term gain, destroying vital habitat for grassland birds and other wildlife.
“We hope the new Congress is able to come together later this year to pass a Farm Bill that meets the needs of farmers, is fair to all taxpayers, and provides protections for soil, water, wildlife and habitat for the benefit of all Americans.”