Farm Bill Prioritizes Innovation and Impact for Climate-Smart Agriculture

EDF statement from Callie Eideberg, Senior Policy Manager, Sustainable Agriculture

December 11, 2018
Hilary Kirwan, (202) 572-3277,

(WASHINGTON, DC) With thanks to the leaders of the Senate and House agriculture committees, the farm bill conference report delivers strong, bipartisan support for farmers and natural resources.

“This farm bill recognizes farmers and ranchers as integral to achieving long-term climate resilience and water quality goals.

“It takes important steps forward on environmental priorities while ensuring that America’s working lands are profitable, productive and part of the climate solution. The bill prioritizes sustainability impact and innovation on private lands, with full funding for the conservation title.

“We look forward to seeing the farm bill cross the finish line and to the U.S. Department of Agriculture implementing exciting conservation provisions that build agricultural resilience to benefit all Americans.”

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Public-private partnerships: Annual funding of $300 million for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program that will bring an additional $3 billion in matching private dollars to the table to deliver water quality improvements at the watershed-scale.
  • Soil health: Annual funding of $25 million for a new soil health pilot project that will provide incentives to producers who improve soil health and increase soil carbon.
  • Crop insurance: Removal of a barrier to cover crop adoption by ensuring that planting and terminating cover crops won’t jeopardize crop insurance eligibility.
  • Agricultural data: Requirement that USDA issue a feasibility report on existing data about crop yields, conservation adoption and risk management.
  • Less red tape: Expedited review process for Conservation Practice Standards to allow USDA to adapt quickly to new technologies and best practices.

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