Coalition of agriculture and conservation groups call for passage of Farm Bill this year which serves the West

February 29, 2012

Jeff Eisenberg, Rockspring Resource Solutions, Coalition Staff, 571-355-3073
Trout Unlimited, Russ Schnitzer, 307-438-1365
Family Farm Alliance, Dan Keppen, 541-892-6244
The Nature Conservancy, Sean McMahon, 515-244-5044
Arizona Public Lands Council, Dave Cook, 928-701-3021
Environmental Defense Fund, Dan Grossman, 303-447-7213
Wyoming Stock Growers, Jim Magagna, 307-638-3942
California Farm Bureau, Elisa Noble, 916-561-5618
Public Lands Council, Dustin Van Liew, 202-879-9126
Irrigation Association, John Farner, 703-536-7080

(Boulder, CO – February 28, 2012) Representatives of the California Farm Bureau Federation, Trout Unlimited, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, The Nature Conservancy, Arizona Public Lands Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Family Farm Alliance, Public Lands Council and the Irrigation Association agreed on Saturday, February 25, subject to the approval of their Boards, to form the Western Agriculture and Conservation Coalition to advocate for balanced management of resources in the rural west. 

The goals of the Coalition would be to support the common interests of agriculture and conservation through targeted education, advocacy, and outreach and to engage decision makers and resource managers in the spirit of collaboration to further a shared vision for a rural west that is economically and environmentally sustainable. 

“Livestock producers look forward to the opportunity to show the inextricable connection between their ability to stay in business, and the health of the economies and natural resources of the West,” said PLC president and rancher from Nevada, John Falen. “Through wise resource use over generations, and through clear private property rights, ranchers have proven themselves diligent stewards of the land.”

Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited, said: “successful conservation depends on collaboration. In the West, many of our conservation projects wouldn’t happen without two things: agricultural producer partners and Farm Bill support. We urge Congress to act quickly to ensure a Farm Bill that continues to provide vital tools for private land stewardship.”

As a first step, the groups agreed to call on Congress to pass the Farm Bill this year in order to ensure the greatest possible amount of funding for the conservation title.  The Senate Agriculture Committee is holding a conservation hearing today, an action which the groups agreed was an important step in the right direction.  The groups will submit detailed policy proposals to the Committee in the next few days.

While the current farm bill debate is the priority of the coalition, members of the Western Agriculture and Conservation Coalition look forward to potentially expanding the coalition’s focus to include other areas of importance to western agriculture production and conservation efforts.