What Is The Farm Bill?

The Farm Bill is the single largest source of federal funding for conservation on private lands. This bill makes it possible for farmers, ranchers, and foresters to help restore and maintain the quality of our nation’s soil, water, and wildlife habitat.

Congress must pass a new Farm Bill this year, and the TRCP and our partners are working to ensure that it continues to fund conservation and incentivize landowners to improve fish and wildlife habitat as part of their business plan. The resulting boost to hunting and fishing opportunity—and in some cases, access—helps to drive outdoor recreation spending in the rural areas that need it most.

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Why Does The Farm Bill Matter?

How Does the Farm Bill Impact Farmers, Wildlife, Water, and Sportsmen?

Across the nation, working private farms and forests provide essential fish and wildlife habitat as well as access for America’s hunters and anglers—driving a rural outdoor recreation economy worth billions of dollars. The Farm Bill delivers more than $5 billion in conservation funding annually, and this is fundamental to bringing habitat improvements to the more than 70 percent of America that is private land.

Farm Bill Program 101

We won’t let an alphabet soup of acronyms and complexities overshadow the many benefits of these conservation programs. Click through the tabs below to explore what the Farm Bill has to offer.

Program Overview

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

  • Voluntary program for landowners to receive payments for removing highly erodible and environmentally sensitive lands from production.
  • Despite overwhelming demand from landowners, the 2014 Farm Bill reduced the CRP acreage cap from 32 million to 24 million eligible acres.
  • In the 2018 Farm Bill, we want to see available CRP acreage increased in a manner that benefits wildlife and water quality in all regions.
Farm Bill
Program Overview

Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP)

  • A competitive grant that helps enhance public access to private lands for hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities such as hiking and bird-watching.
  • Since 2014, more than 950,000 acres have been made available for public access through VPA-HIP.
  • In the 2018 Farm Bill, we want to increase the states’ abilities to provide recreational access on private lands.
Farm Bill
Program Overview

Regional Conservation and Partnership Program (RCPP)

  • Funds multi-state or watershed-scale projects where conservation groups and agriculture producers work together to enhance soil, water, and wildlife conservation.
  • State, local, and NGO partners match federal funds one-to-one, doubling the conservation impact of Farm Bill dollars.
  • In the 2018 Farm Bill, lawmakers should enhance the ability of public-private partnerships to scale up on successful regional conservation projects with water quality, water quantity, and wildlife outcomes.
Farm Bill
Program Overview

Agriculture Conservation Easements Program (ACEP)

  • Long-term easement agreements support the voluntary restoration, protection, and enhancement of wetlands and forests, while protecting agricultural lands from subdivision and development.
  • Wetland Reserve Easements help create or safeguard the natural infrastructure that enhances fish and wildlife habitat, boosts water quality, and mitigates flooding.
  • In the 2018 Farm Bill, we’d like to see lawmakers improve ACEP’s ability to meet increasing demand from landowners to conserve farmland, forests, grasslands, and wetlands through easements.
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Program Overview

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

  • Provides funding and assistance for producers and landowners to plan, install, or maintain practices that enhance water quality and wildlife habitat or reduce soil erosion and sedimentation.
  • Works well with these programs: National Water Quality Incentives, On-Farm Energy, and Sage Grouse Initiative
  • In the 2018 Farm Bill, our priority is to increase the portion of EQIP funds that are used for investments in wildlife habitat.
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Program Overview

Conservation Compliance

  • Provides funding and assistance for producers and landowners to plan, install, or maintain practices that enhance water quality and wildlife habitat or reduce soil erosion and sedimentation.
  • Works well with these programs: National Water Quality Incentives, On-Farm Energy, and Sage Grouse Initiative.
  • The 2018 Farm Bill should retain the linkage between compliance and crop insurance. Lawmakers should strengthen Sodsaver by closing the ‘alfalfa loophole’ and collecting better data on grasslands loss.
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Program Overview

Forestry

  • Stewardship Contracting Authority: Provides funding and assistance for producers and landowners to plan, install, or maintain practices that enhance water quality and wildlife habitat or reduce soil erosion and sedimentation.
  • Healthy Forest Reserve Program: Works well with these programs: National Water Quality Incentives, On-Farm Energy, and Sage Grouse Initiative.
  • Good Neighbor Authority: T Supports partnerships between the USFS, BLM, and state and local natural resource agencies to restore watersheds, enhance rangelands, and improve forest management activities on public lands.
Farm Bill

Farm Bill Resources

Whether you’re a decision maker, farmer, rancher, forester, or American sportsman, you have a major stake in the Farm Bill debate. Hover over the tiles below to find out more.

Lawmaker Resources

Lawmaker Resources

Find out how the 2018 Farm Bill affects the outdoor recreation economy where you live. Download our fact sheets on each Farm Bill conservation program and sportsmen’s priorities for the 2018 legislation.

Landowner Resources

Landowner Resources

The Farm Bill is a toolbox of programs that help you take care of your land, improve water quality, and create or restore habitat.

Sportsmen Resources

Sportsmen Resources

The Farm Bill is a complex bill to be voted on in 2018. Browse through our resources library to find the issues that matter most to you, the sportsman.

 

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