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Public Statements

Part B Amendment No. 6 Offered By Mr. Garrett Of New Jersey

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would add $5 million to the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Conservation Operations Account and subtract $5 million from the Farm Service Agency salaries.

More than 80 percent of the funds under the NRCS Conservation Operations Account provide technical support to help farmers and other landowners conserve and protect their land and resources. Currently, there is a significant backlog of requests for conservation assistance, and many farmers are turned away by the USDA when they apply to participate in conservation programs due to insufficient funding.

New Jersey, my home State, is one of the most densely populated States in the country, and more and more scarce land disappears every day. Our farmers are eager to share in the cost of protecting our environment, and we must ensure that they have the knowledge and the ability to do so in the appropriate manner.

So I would like to commend the chairwoman and the ranking member for their work in attempting to address this important issue. And while I do support very strongly the Farm Service Agency, their salaries and their expense account, under this bill it is slated for a $92 million increase, and with so many of our Nation's farmers struggling to conserve their land and with development rapidly eating up our cherished resources, I believe this is a priority.

I will close with this: More than 19 years ago, when I first ran for public office in my State, I believed we were not doing enough to preserve our open space and our farmlands. I believe that this amendment continues to move us now in the right way and towards that goal. I ask all of my colleagues to support this amendment.


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