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SAFSF Funders Webinar The Farm Bill -Conservation Title June 9, 2011 Moderator: Aimee Witteman, The McKnight Foundation Speakers: Craig Cox, Environmental.

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Presentation on theme: "SAFSF Funders Webinar The Farm Bill -Conservation Title June 9, 2011 Moderator: Aimee Witteman, The McKnight Foundation Speakers: Craig Cox, Environmental."— Presentation transcript:

1 SAFSF Funders Webinar The Farm Bill -Conservation Title June 9, 2011 Moderator: Aimee Witteman, The McKnight Foundation Speakers: Craig Cox, Environmental Working Group (EWG) Adam Warthesen, Land Stewardship Project (LSP)

2 What is the conservation title… Conservation requirements in return for farm subsidies… Highly erodible cropland conservation – must have soil conservation practices on vulnerable cropland. Wetland conservation – must not drain wetlands. Programs that deliver money and technical help on conservation… Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) – 89% of conservation funds to these 4 programs.

3 2012 Farm Bill – What’s at stake? Era of crop surpluses is over – Era of all out production begins. Biofuel policy adding fuel to the fire – tying grain prices to crude oil prices. Farm and insurance subsidies enabling and favoring industrial-scale production of raw material for the food system.

4 Climate change… Weather becoming more unfriendly. Increased frequency of severe and damaging storms. Increased frequency of severe and damaging droughts. Combination of both.

5 All-out production plus climate change in the corn belt…

6 Simple practices – big improvement…

7 Critical victories at stake… Conservation Compliance… Conservation in return for subsidies More and better funding Big Increase – Better Balance

8 Farm bill fight – Follow the money… If we did the farm bill today our budget for the next ten years would be $212.9 billion will be the first farm bill since 1996 that must spend less than the previous bill. Where cuts fall will reflect profound decisions about priorities in our food and agriculture system.

9 Follow the money… Funding has fallen far below promises, but still more than we had before continuing resolution and 2012 appropriations should sound a warning bell. Yet…House appropriations committee cuts direct payments for the first time.

10 2012 Farm Bill -- Big opportunities… Defend funding – shift funding from commodity crop and insurance subsidies to key food and environmental programs. Unwind the worst cases of perverse incentives and unlevel playing field created by crop and insurance subsidies. Renewed emphasis on conservation compliance— carrots with strings—with primary emphasis on reconnecting to crop and revenue insurance programs. Surgical reform to conservation title to improve performance and get better results.

11 Funder Opportunities—Big Needs Build capacity to do aggressive, creative and well- informed advocacy shaping opinion in Washington DC. Budget debates that will shape the 2012 farm bill are already underway. Will need to fight harder and smarter in this climate to save or extend the critical gains made in earlier farm bills.

12 Funder Opportunities—Big Needs Capacity on the ground to turn promise into reality – use the programs and money provided by the farm in creative ways to support sustainable agriculture and protect the environment. Implementation, implementation, implementation.

13 Healthy Land, Food and People The conservation title is a key piece of larger food system reform. We need to capture the energy around healthy food and people and make the connection to healthy land. Sustain the momentum from previous farm bill victories – extend those victories where possible.

14 Thank you…


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