(WASHINGTON, DC)—Sens. Bob Casey and Shelley Moore Capito and Reps. Marcia Fudge and Glenn Thompson have introduced companion bills in the Senate and the House that direct the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to measure, evaluate, and report on the effectiveness of its conservation programs.
The Farmer-Driven Conservation Outcomes Act of 2020 would enable USDA to quantify the environmental impact of farmers’ conservation efforts and improve its existing programs. USDA conservation programs are vital for farmers in Pennsylvania and throughout the 64,000 square-mile Bay watershed who are committed to help improve water quality.
Jason Rano, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Federal Executive Director, praised the legislation:
“Farmers play an indispensable role in restoring the health of local creeks, streams, and rivers that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. The Farmer-Driven Conservation Outcomes Act would provide information to demonstrate how these programs help mitigate climate change, improve water quality and soil health, and deliver other environmental benefits throughout the watershed.
“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) commends Senators Casey and Capito and Representatives Fudge and Thompson for crafting this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to evaluate and improve Farm Bill conservation programs. It will generate data that will increase our understanding about the benefits of conservation practices and the programs that enable farmers to help restore the Bay ecosystem. That’s a win-win outcome CBF is proud to support.”