A coalition of agriculture, conservation, environment and crop insurance groups are applauding the passage of an historic conservation compliance agreement as part of the bipartisan Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee. The non-partisan conservation compliance agreement represents a compromise position that supports the linking of conservation compliance with crop insurance premium assistance, and opposes means testing, payment limitations or premium subsidy reductions for the crop insurance program.

In opening remarks at markup, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow praised the agreement, saying the Farm Bill “includes an even stronger commitment to conservation, one borne out of the efforts by environmental and agricultural groups who sat down together to find a way to protect our soil and water resources necessary to keep agriculture strong in America for generations to come.”

 

(See Western leaders support Senate Ag Committee farm bill)

 

Members of the coalition issued the following response to the passage of the agreement:

“We have been a strong advocate for an effective crop and natural resource safety net in the 2013 Farm Bill. The conservation compliance agreement, made possible by the leadership of Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran, ensures at a policy level the thoughtful implementation of compliance that balances the need for natural resource conservation with a robust agriculture economy.” 
- National Association of Conservation Districts President Earl Garber

“We believe that the bipartisan compromise to oppose means testing, payment limitations or premium subsidy reductions for the crop insurance program and to formalize a tie between crop insurance and conservation compliance helped set the tone of cooperation for this bill moving forward. We greatly appreciate the help of Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran in moving this historic agreement forward.” 
- American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman

“We applaud the Senate Agriculture Committee for its work on the 2013 Farm Bill and in particular the language that re-links conservation compliance to crop insurance premium assistance. This is a common sense, balanced approach that shows a mutual commitment to both conservation stewardship and to maintaining the long-term economic viability of America's farmers and ranchers." 
- American Farmland Trust President Jon Scholl

“We appreciate recognition by the Senate Ag Committee of the significant deliberations by our coalition to develop a common sense, workable approach to the issues of conservation and crop insurance. NCGA applauds the Committee for passing a bill incorporating provisions of this compromise which will help farmers avoid the onerous means testing, payment limitations and premium subsidy reductions previously proposed for crop insurance, our number one farm bill priority.”
- National Corn Growers Association Chairman Garry Niemeyer

“Re-coupling conservation compliance to crop insurance has been a top priority for Ducks Unlimited and we are extremely appreciative that, under the leadership of Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran, the Senate Agriculture Committee has taken the first big step by including it in their five-year farm bill. Most importantly, the agriculture and conservation communities have nurtured a working partnership grounded in our mutual goal of a comprehensive farm bill. I expect to maintain and grow our collaboration in the long-term on behalf of our country’s farmers, ranchers, wildlife and all Americans.” 
- Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall

Historic agreement

"The Senate Agriculture Committee should be commended for its commitment and determination to write and pass a Farm Bill that saves taxpayers money and provides confidence to farmers and their lenders as they make business decisions for upcoming growing seasons. The ability of the Committee to come together and forge this bipartisan bill underscores the fact that the Farm Bill is important to all sectors of our nation and economy.”
- American Association of Crop Insurers and Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau

“We are very pleased that the agreement that would re-link conservation compliance and crop insurance was included in the bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee. The united front of agriculture and conservation groups will help to ensure that our producers benefit from the certainty of a five-year farm bill while they are incentivized to protect our nation’s natural resources.”
- National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson

“Conservation compliance has been a critically important policy, helping us conserve fish and wildlife habitat through a partnership between farmers and taxpayers. State fish and wildlife agencies applaud the historic steps taken today to strengthen conservation compliance by linking it to crop insurance subsidies, and look forward to working with members of Congress and our partners in the conservation and agriculture communities to see these policies become law.”
- Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Ron Regan

“Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee, conservationists, and our colleagues in the agricultural collectively community mapped the path to advance protections for wildlife habitats on working lands, while addressing the needs of those who work the land.”
- President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation, Larry Schweiger

“The agreement reached by conservation and agricultural groups on conservation compliance was historic in its broad and unique base of support; today that support was reaffirmed by a bipartisan majority of the United States Senate Agriculture Committee, who saw both the wisdom and the workability of this impressive consensus.”
- President and CEO, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Whit Fosburgh