USDA Reorganization Could Benefit Farmers and the Environment – but Conservation Must Remain a Priority
Statement from Callie Eideberg, Senior Policy Manager, EDF Ecosystems Program
(WASHINGTON – May 11, 2017) Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a massive reorganization of the agency. Among other changes, the Secretary plans to create a new Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation to oversee the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Risk Management Agency (RMA), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Previously, NRCS reported to the Undersecretary of Natural Resources and the Environment, and both RMA and FSA reported to the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services.
“On the surface, combining conservation and farm productivity programs makes sense, since sustainability is almost always good for a producer’s bottom line. Reducing duplication and bureaucracy between these agencies could streamline efforts to implement conservation practices while protecting farmers’ incomes. However, a lot remains to be seen and will depend on who fills the Undersecretary position. We’re advocating for someone committed to the long-term success of production agriculture, strong environmental outcomes, and programs that improve farm resiliency.
Ultimately, as long as conservation priorities do not take a back seat to farm production goals, both the environment and farmers can benefit. Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) funding and outreach should remain a top priority under the new organization. CTA provides the experts, tools, and resources needed to support farmers, and it ensures the best investment of conservation dollars.”
- Callie Eideberg, Senior Policy Manager, EDF Ecosystems Program
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