The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) released the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s budget for conservation programs in the 2019 fiscal year.
“Once again, this administration is calling on American producers to do more with less,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said. “The President’s budget proposes cuts to almost every area of USDA’s discretionary and mandatory budgets, including nearly $15 billion in cuts to farm bill conservation programs and over a 20 percent reduction to Conservation Operations.”
Within the conservation portfolio, the President’s FY19 budget proposes a funding level of $669 million for Conservation Operations, a $200 million cut to the account that funds conservation planning and technical assistance. The budget also requests significant cuts to the Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) program within Conservation Operations.
“Conservation planning is the lifeblood of voluntary conservation and the building block on which all other conservation programs stand,” Van Dyke said. “Proposing extreme cuts to technical assistance programs at a time when the administration is asking for greater customer service just doesn’t add up. The President’s budget proposal is a reminder that we must continue educating our lawmakers about just how important locally-led conservation efforts are to this country now and for future generations.”
The budget includes a legislative proposal to eliminate the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). In addition to eliminating these USDA programs, the budget also requests to completely eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Section 319 nonpoint source grant program, which helps address nonpoint pollution from agricultural as well as non-agricultural sources.
NACD applauds Congress’ past efforts to support the conservation programs most vital to our nation’s natural resources and calls on Congress to oppose President Trump’s FY19 budget.