October 5, 2021
CHS Washington representative Will Stafford shares the latest updates in conservation program funding.
As the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better reconciliation package continues to be negotiated in Congress, more details regarding additional funding for conservation programs are coming to light.
According to CHS Washington Representative Will Stafford, Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate agriculture committee, is pushing for a $28 billion dollar conservation plan. Her plan would include the following budget allocations through fiscal year 2026:
- $5 billion in direct payments to producers who establish cover crops
- $9 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP)
- $4 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
- $1.5 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
- $7.5 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
As negotiations continue, Stafford says the reconciliation bill itself and the cost to implement the bill are subject to change at any moment. He adds potential funding increase could have a huge impact on the conservation title baseline in the next Farm Bill.
“I expect the Senate and House agriculture committees to officially kick off Farm Bill reauthorization processes in the next calendar year,” says Stafford. “This will result in numerous hearings around the country so representatives can hear from producers and other industry stakeholders on key issues.” In addition to discussion about conservation program funding, Stafford expects hearings would focus on Title I crop commodity programs and evaluation of current farm safety net programs.