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NACD Calls to Increase Funding for Conservation Priorities and Pass Funding Bills on Time

Washington, D.C. – On Saturday, President Biden signed Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 appropriations legislation into law that provides funding for several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. NACD appreciates that the enactment of final federal spending legislation prevents a government shutdown and ends temporary funding measures but is disappointed that it reduces funding for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and several programs and accounts that are critical to conservation. The spending package includes: 

    • No cuts in mandatory spending for USDA farm bill conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP);
    • $915 million for NRCS Conservation Operations,including $773 for Conservation Technical Assistance. This funding supports NRCS, conservation districts, and other local partners in helping producers assess resource needs, develop conservation plans, and implement effective conservation practices;
    • $303 million for the U.S. Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry Program, which provides technical and financial assistance to states, tribes, communities, and non-industrial private landowners;
    • $12 million for the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Stewardship Program to partner with state forestry agencies, cooperative extensions, and conservation districts to provide private landowners with information and tools to manage their forests and woodlands;
    • $174 million for EPA’s Nonpoint Source Management Program to protect waterways, groundwater, and wetlands from pollutants;
    • $35 million for NRCS’ Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Operations Programs to protect and restore watersheds, and;
    • $1 million for the NRCS Watershed Rehabilitation Program to rehabilitate aging dams.

“NACD appreciates that Congress has ended the cycle of passing temporary spending measures to narrowly avoid government shutdowns, but we must increase funding for conservation priorities and pass appropriations bills in a more timely manner,” said NACD President Kim LaFleur. While NACD acknowledges the difficult budget environment, increasing funding for NRCS Conservation Operations is critical to supporting Conservation Technical Assistance and effectively administering voluntary, locally led conservation programs that enjoy strong bipartisan support.

As Congress begins to develop Fiscal Year 2025 appropriations bills, NACD urges lawmakers to increase funding for Conservation Operations and other important programs that allow our nation’s conservation delivery system to improve the health of land, water, and air in every part of the country. Congress must also pass federal funding bills on time to allow federal agencies to effectively budget, plan, and reach producers with this funding.

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