Diverse Group of Conservation, Agriculture, Sportsmen Groups Endorse $27 Billion for Climate-Smart Ag in Build Back Better

Prairie

The most updated framework of Build Back Better includes over $27 billion for climate-smart agriculture and Farm Bill conservation programs. This would represent the largest investment in conservation since the Dust Bowl, and would provide a transformative level of support to farmers, ranchers, wildlife and the climate. Below are quotes and statements of support from coalition members outlining the tremendous impact that these well-funded conservation programs will have.

“The Build Back Better Act’s proposal to invest $27.15 billion in on-farm conservation and USDA conservation programs underscores the central role that farmers, ranchers and private forest owners play in addressing the climate crisis. This transformative investment into popular and effective USDA conservation programs and practices will create jobs, support rural communities, reduce emissions, and create benefits for soil, water, and wildlife.”
– Aviva Glaser, Senior Director of Agriculture Policy at the National Wildlife Federation

“The inclusion of $27B for voluntary conservation programs in the Build Back Better Act marks a historic acknowledgment of the importance of US agricultural producers’ positive role in building resilience and addressing our climate challenges. This investment would help to lay the foundation for rebuilding our nation’s soils, securing our food supply, mitigating floods and drought, and sequestering carbon.”
– Aria McLauchlan, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Land Core

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to increase conservation funding. We believe that agricultural land is essential infrastructure for the future of our nation, just as much as any road or bridge, and that any infrastructure improvements should include incentives for private conservation.”
– Tim Fink, Policy Director, American Farmland Trust

“Climate-smart agricultural investments are absolutely necessary to tackle the climate crisis. Agricultural conservation programs are consistently oversubscribed, and the Build Back Better Act is a huge opportunity for Congress to allow farmers and ranchers to be part of the climate solution.”
– Madeleine Foote, Deputy Legislative Director for the League of Conservation Voters

“Land access challenges are preventing a new generation from taking on the important task of growing food for our country. Importantly, $200 million is included in the BBB to help with land ownership challenges, such as heirs’ property, fractionated land, and supporting young farmers in accessing land. We look forward to working with USDA on creative ways to use this investment to secure affordable, equitable access to land for a next generation of farmers.”
– Holly Rippon-Butler, National Young Farmers’ Land Campaign Director

“The budget reconciliation bill provides a once-in-a generation chance to make better farmland stewardship, not unlimited subsidies, our top priority. Farmland conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and store carbon also have the added benefit of reducing the amount of farm pollution that is fouling our drinking water.”
– Scott Faber, SVP, Environmental Working Group

“Over a century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt said, “There can be no greater issue than conservation in this country.” This statement is doubly true today. Demonstrating our nation’s leadership in addressing climate change by ramping up climate-smart agriculture and conservation assistance to farm, ranch and forest communities holds multiple benefits. The North American Grouse Partnership fully backs the historic Build Back Better Act.”
– Ted Koch, Executive Director, North American Grouse Partnership

“Climate-friendly farm and ranch practices can provide benefits for our soil, air, woods, waters and wildlife, but they often require an investment of money, time and expertise. As Congress debates new investments in infrastructure and climate change mitigation, agriculture conservation provides an opportunity too important to pass up.”
– Duane Hovorka, Agriculture Program Director, Izaak Walton League of America

“Agriculture also offers unique opportunities to advance climate solutions. Cultivating healthy soil with regenerative and organic practices—including
cover cropping, crop rotation, composting, polycultures, and farming without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers—can draw down carbon from the atmosphere while also increasing the capacity of farms to survive droughts, floods, and other extreme weather.”
– Allison Johnson and Matthew Kaplan, National Resource Defense Council

“These core, voluntary-incentive programs are ripe for investment, particularly as we evaluate how to enhance climate resilience through habitat improvements and meet our land conservation goals in the years to come.”
– Andrew Earl, Director of Private Lands Conservation, TRCP

“It is potentially transformative, and the emphasis on investments in conservation programs centered on mitigating climate change is a game-changer.”
– Eric Deeble, policy director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

“Conservation programs that should be a central tool in our efforts to address the climate crisis are oversubscribed and already forced to turn away eligible producers.”
– Wes King, Senior Policy Specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

“It’s a really unique opportunity, because very rarely do you get a chance to do that outside of the farm bill. There would be immediate climate benefits.”
– Ben Lilliston, Director, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

“The Build Back Better Act provides critical funding for conservation programs that will protect natural and working lands while making our country more
resilient to the impacts of climate change. These historic investments are good for our environment, our communities, our health and our economy. On behalf of the Land Trust Alliance and its nearly 1,000 member land trusts, I call on the Senate to pass this historic legislation that includes these additional
investments.”
– Lori Faeth, Senior Director of Government Relations, Land Trust Alliance

“Build Back Better will make our food system more resilient, sustainable and equitable, while helping the U.S. meet climate goals to reduce heat trapping
emissions and transition to a net-zero economy. These investments are also critical to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers at a time when many
USDA conservation and research programs are oversubscribed, underfunded and often overlook underserved communities. Over the past decade,
programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program have had to turn away more than half of applicants. And we continue to underinvest in research led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color and support for those most affected by climate change, namely communities of color and frontline communities.

Our food and farm system has an essential role to play in confronting the climate crisis. By fully investing in critical agricultural conservation, research and equity programs, Congress can make U.S. agriculture a global leader in climate-resilient agriculture, while giving farmers, ranchers and their partners the tools they need to adapt to a changing climate.”
– Marcia DeLonge, Research Director at Union of Concerned Scientists Food & Environment Program

“If we want a secure, healthy and affordable food supply, clean water, wildlife habitat and the many other essential values working lands provide, we
need to do a better job of partnering and investing with farmers and ranchers. Farm Bill conservation programs remain critically oversubscribed in the
face of mounting challenges to producers’ bottom line and our ecosystems. The Build Back Better Act’s agriculture conservation provisions are designed to help producers keep these lands intact, healthy and productive for the benefit of us all. With a national conversation on the future of conservation as the backdrop, Congress should act swiftly to enact the Build Back Better Act.”
– Lesli Allison, Executive Director, Western Landowners Alliance

“The Build Back Better Act includes once-in-ageneration investments in conservation programs, positioning farmers and climate-smart agriculture
practices as key strategies to mitigate climate change and build resiliency. Investments in conservation and climate resilience such as EQIP, as well as investments in programs beyond the farm gate like affordable college, immigration, and farmworker health and safety are essential to the functioning of our agriculture system. We applaud the inclusion of $200 million for farm workers and food worker relief.”
– Vanessa Garcia Polanco, Federal Policy Director of National Young Farmers

“The Build Back Better Act includes historic investments in agriculture that are essential to climate mitigation, with dedicated funding for climate change and agricultural research. These investments advance soil carbon storage and build resilience into our food and farm system, relying on long-standing conservation programs to funnel support to farmers and ranchers across the country at a time when they need it most. Vocal champions of the ag sector, including Chairwoman Stabenow, know the importance of delivering robust and deeply researched mitigation programs and we urge the Senate to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity and pass this important piece of legislation.”
– Giana Amador, Policy Director and Co-founder at Carbon180