Farm Bill Offers Some Conservation Wins, Falls Short in Advancing Climate-Smart Agriculture And Forestry

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MAY 24, 2024 (WASHINGTON) – The House Committee on Agriculture passed the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024, which now goes to the full House for a vote. Among other policies, the bill would provide resources to farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other private landowners to voluntarily implement conservation efforts on working lands.

“The bill passed out of committee today provides resources to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation efforts on working lands, and we thank the Committee for their commitment to these key issues. However, we are concerned that the bill falls short in some key areas, including removing critical guardrails in the Inflation Reduction Act that support farmers, ranchers, and land managers working to conserve their lands to help solve the climate crisis,” said Felice Stadler, vice president of government affairs at the National Audubon Society. “These voluntary conservation programs and practices are overwhelmingly popular and demonstrate the growing interest in adopting agricultural practices that store and capture carbon on the land. Additionally, the renewable energy provisions included in this bill fail to take the steps necessary to ensure growers and producers can easily access clean energy and energy efficiency resources that reduce emissions while lowering their overhead costs.”

“As negotiations continue in both chambers and across the aisle, the National Audubon Society and our 1.4 million members and supporters call on Congress to invest in the future of conservation and to pass a bipartisan bill that recognizes the importance of working lands and climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices that protect biodiversity—and our planet,” said Stadler.

The Farm Bill is the largest source of federal funding for voluntary conservation on working lands. Audubon supports a Farm Bill that secures the historic $20 billion in funding for climate-smart agriculture included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and is not diverted away from programs that incentivize voluntary conservation to benefit wildlife habitat. 

Audubon has engaged its 1.4 million members and supporters through action alerts and ads calling on elected officials to support a Farm Bill that builds on the strong foundation of current conservation programs to better address the challenges facing communities and wildlife across the country. 

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About Audubon   
The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas towards a future where birds thrive because Audubon is a powerful, diverse, and ever-growing force for conservation. Audubon has more than 700 staff working across the hemisphere and more than 1.5 million active supporters. North America has lost three billion birds since 1970, and more than 500 bird species are at risk of extinction across Latin America and the Caribbean. Birds act as early warning systems about the health of our environment, and they tell us that birds – and our planet – are in crisis. Together as one Audubon, we are working to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss. We do this by implementing on-the-ground conservation, partnering with local communities, influencing public and corporate policy, and building community. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

Media Contact: Megan Moriarty, megan.moriarty@audubon.org 

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