We the undersigned organizations endorse the Strengthening Our Investment in Land Stewardship (SOIL Stewardship) Act of 2018 introduced by Representative Tim Walz (MN-1). This legislation lays out a comprehensive strategy for improving working lands conservation programs that protects natural resources, supports farmers, and enhances the productivity of agricultural lands.
This SOIL Stewardship Act makes important reforms to the two largest working lands conservation programs – the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). This legislation will empower farmers and ranchers to adopt advanced conservation activities and systems, and we strongly support its inclusion in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Privately owned crop, pasture, and rangelands account for nearly half of the landmass in the United States. Given that footprint, it is clear farmers and ranchers play an enormous role in the management of our shared natural resources. In order to provide farmers with the tools they need to protect and enhance the environment as well as the viability of their own operations, the next farm bill must invest in EQIP and CSP reforms to rebuild soil, improve irrigation management, provide clean water, and enhance wildlife habitat.
The SOIL Stewardship Act will ensure that these tools work for farmers and ranchers by building upon the distinct and complementary identities of EQIP and CSP to strengthen the accessibility and impact of these two core working lands conservation programs. The legislation ensures availability and accessibility of working lands conservation, while simultaneously ensuring payment properly reflect the farmer investment and conservation benefits.
We applaud Congressman Walz for addressing a need that is central to the effectiveness and success of USDA conservation programs. We urge your strong support to ensure these changes are enacted into law as part of the new farm bill.
List of organizations