Thompson’s Agriculture Subcommittee Reviews Implementation of Conservation Programs in the 2014 Farm Bill

Jun 11, 2015 Issues: Agriculture

Washington, D.C.-Today, Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, held a public hearing to review the implementation of conservation programs included in the Agricultural Act of 2014. The subcommittee heard from two panels of witnesses, including Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller and Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini responsible for implementation, as well as stakeholders who shared their perspectives on the different conservation programs. 

The conservation title of the farm bill provides farmers, ranchers, foresters and landowners with voluntary, incentive-based financial and technical assistance for conservation practices. Through these programs, producers are able to protect and restore water quality and quantity, air quality, wildlife habitat, and meet regulatory requirements. 

"I am very pleased to hear from both agencies responsible for implementation and stakeholders that these conservation programs are working successfully," Chairman Thompson said. "NRCS and FSA have done great work on the grassroots level to make sure these programs are implemented so our farmers and ranchers are able to maintain and protect our natural resources. While I applaud their work in implementing the voluntary, incentive-based programs, I remain concerned about the implementation of conservation compliance restrictions on crop insurance. In particular, I am concerned that many of our nation's farmers and ranchers may not have been aware of USDA's June 1 self-certification deadline, and as a result, may inadvertently lose access to one of our nation's most important risk management tools. I look forward to further oversight to ensure these conservation programs continue to work for rural America."

Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Subcommittee Chairman Thompson's opening statement and the archived webcast.

​Witness List:

Panel I

Mr. Jason Weller, Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Val Dolcini, Administrator, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Panel II

Mr. Brent Van Dyke, 1st Vice President, National Association of Conservation Districts, Hobbs, NM

Mr. Buddy Allen, Rice Producer, USA Rice Federation, Tunica, MS

Ms. Karen Martynick, Executive Director, Lancaster Farmland Trust, Strasburg, PA

Mr. Jim Inglis, Governmental Affairs Representative, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever, Upper Sandusky, OH