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Environmental Leaders to Congress: Don't Stop Funding Conservation on Farms

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource page, Farm Issues page, and our USDA Watch page.

The message is loud and clear: The environmental community wants to get out ahead of the 2012 Farm Bill debate.

Yesterday, a group of 56 leadership organizations representing over a million members across the nation sent Congress a very public memo. The groups ranged from the Environmental Working Group to the World Wildlife Fund, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Their message: Industrial farming has no place in this country without parallel measures aimed at stopping soil erosion, lessening pesticide use, and cleaning up the air and soil on and around farms. The statement reads:

 The progress farmers have made is real, but pressing problems remain unaddressed; we will lose the ground we have gained if Congress fails to ensure that conservation intensifies in lock-step with production.

The bulk of the deliberation about the next Farm Bill isn't supposed to begin until next year, so why the rush? There's been speculation that the congressional Super Committee currently strategizing about the national debt might start making cuts to conservation programs early. As Don Carr of the Environmental Working Group writes in his latest article, Americans' Views of Industrial Agriculture By the Numbers,  "Many informed observers believe the committee will effectively re-write the farm bill this fall, a full year ahead of schedule." (For more context, read the EWG's primer, Why the Farm Bill Matters.