Blumenauer Introduces Legislation to Improve Conservation in Farming

September 20, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) today introduced the Sustainable Farmland for the Future Act to expand conservation compliance in the federal crop insurance program. This bill introduction coincides with the release of an Environmental Working Group report titled, “Less Farm Pollution, More Clean Water: An Agenda for Conservation in the 2018 Farm Bill.”

Blumenauer’s legislation requires all farmers who receive crop insurance premium subsidies to abide by basic conservation requirements and gives the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) increased authority to review conservation plans. The bill also sets aside funding for technical assistance to help subsidy recipients reduce their environmental impact and strengthens enforcement of conservation standards for wetlands.

“The majority of our farmers are stewards of the land and deserve government support, but some aren’t meeting their obligations to the American taxpayer,” said Blumenauer. “This bill ensures that federal subsidies go to farmers who are improving water quality, reducing carbon emissions, and limiting soil erosion for future generations.”

“The conservation compact between farmers and taxpayers enacted in 1985 sparked dramatic progress in cutting runoff from the most vulnerable cropland and saving wetlands,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. “Expanding the conservation compact to include all cropland, as Congressman Blumenauer’s bill seeks to do, could be the single most effective way in the next farm bill to meaningfully cut farm pollution runoff, and protect drinking water, soil and clean air. It is more than fair to expect farmers and landowners to expand their efforts to protect the environment in return for the generous farm and insurance subsidies they receive year after year.”