WASHINGTON, April 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Farmland Trust is asking the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittees to provide full funding for farmland conservation protection and beginning farmer programs authorized in the 2014 federal Farm Bill.
"The recently enacted 2014 Farm Bill already cut food, conservation and agriculture programs by $23 billion contributing proportionately more than their share to deficit reduction," said Andrew McElwaine, President and CEO of AFT. "We are asking Congress to support full funding of conservation and agriculture programs as set in the Farm Bill and we oppose efforts to make further cuts to these much-needed programs which can leverage private investment as high as a four to one taxpayer return for conservation."
"Strong funding for farmland conservation programs such as the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and conservation technical assistance will provide significant natural resource benefits by protecting farmland and improving the quality of our water and air," said McElwaine. "It is also critical Congress provide opportunities for future growth in agriculture by adequately funding programs like the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program.
"These programs provide funding for state and local farmland protection, installation of on-farm best conservation practices, help bring new farmers into agriculture to deal with the critical issue of an aging farm population and support innovative ways to grow local markets for farm products," said McElwaine.
"Members of Congress have already agreed to funding levels in the Farm Bill, now they need to carry through on that commitment and actually appropriate the funds needed to help farmers," said McElwaine.
AFT's request has been submitted to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee Agriculture Subcommittee including Chair Mark Pryor and ranking member Roy Blunt and members of the House Appropriations Committee Agriculture Subcommittee including Chair Robert Aderholt and ranking member Sam Farr.
A copy of the House letter is available online at: http://www.farmbillfacts.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/House-Agriculture-Appropriations.pdf
A copy of the Senate letter is available online at: http://www.farmbillfacts.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Senate-Agriculture-Appropriations.pdf
The American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land.
AFT will host the Farmland, Food and Livable Communities national conference in Lexington, Kentucky on October 20-22. Visit www.farmland.org for more information.
For more information on the policies and programs of the American Farmland Trust, visit www.farmland.org, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmericanFarmland or Twitter www.twitter.com/farmland.
Andrew McElwaine, President & CEO, American Farmland Trust
Jeremy Peters, Director of Federal Policy, American Farmland Trust
SOURCE American Farmland Trust