National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) President Gene Schmidt made the following statement urging House and Senate leadership to include the 2012 farm bill within a "Fiscal Cliff" deal.

"The farm bill cuts costs while increasing efficiencies and best management tools to care for our natural resources. Any deficit reduction deal should take a clear look at the 2012 farm bill as a responsible approach to managing our budget while also managing our most precious asset -- our natural resources.

"The farm bill passed by the full Senate and the House Agriculture Committee includes substantial savings for taxpayers. These are real dollars that could be used to offset the looming automatic budget cuts.

"Congress has already done the heavy lifting on reaching a strong framework for a five-year farm bill. The differences between the Senate and House versions could be easily resolved. It makes a lot more sense to work with what we have, than to be forced to start the entire process over again next year.

"Producers deserve to have a long-term framework in place to effectively and efficiently manage their land, resources and business for the years ahead. The absence of a long-term farm bill will have serious consequences on everything from food security, to the economy, and the conservation of the land, air and water we rely on every day."