Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)held an event today to introduce the Balancing Food, Farm, and Environment Act (the Balancing Act), legislation that updates the Farm Bill's conservation title to reflect the needs of today's agricultural system and a new set of federal government priorities.
"I have been a champion of conservation in the Farm Bill since I first came to Congress, and the Balancing Act represents the comprehensive reform we need," said Rep. Kind. "Our bill creates a more effective and fiscally responsible conservation title by targeting limited resources to higher impact projects and the family farmers who need help the most."
American farmers strongly embrace conservation efforts, but the current conservation title is outdated and no longer addresses America's most important priorities. It is also difficult for farmers to navigate and forces a one-size-fits-all policy on a varied landscape. The Balancing Act more effectively uses taxpayer dollars by streamlining 23 conservation programs into 11, encourages local and regional partnerships that promote conservation, and provides support and technical assistance to help farmers meet modern-day challenges like food safety concerns and water quality issues.
The legislation, co-sponsored by 13 members of Congress from across the country, prioritizes investment for our most pressing conservation issues, including helping farmers address a changing climate, ensuring that wetlands and grasslands are conserved, and reducing pesticide use. The Balancing Act provides supports for organic farming, by assisting farmers looking to transition to organics and allocating funds that support conservation efforts related to organic food production.
"As the Member representing the largest cooperative of organic producers in the Nation, I fully support the measures in the bill that help those producers choosing to transition to organics," concluded Kind. "By incorporating performance-based, rather than practice-based standards, and reducing paperwork and red tape through program consolidation, all family farmers will benefit from this long-needed reform bill."