Earlier this week, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and a coalition of more than 50 agriculture and conservation organizations sent a letter to congressional appropriations leaders requesting at least $1.2 billion for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Operations and full authorized funding for farm bill conservation programs in Fiscal Year 2024.
Nearly 90 percent of NRCS Conservation Operations funding supports Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA), which facilitates the implementation of on-the-ground conservation by supporting our conservation workforce, conservation planning, and the extension of specialized technical assistance to producers.
“NACD appreciates Congress’ longstanding bipartisan support for CTA and conservation programs, and once again calls on appropriators to increase funding for CTA and reject any cuts to farm bill programs” said NACD President Kim LaFleur. “It is critical that we provide producers and local conservation partners with the resources and tools required to be effective stewards of our country’s working lands.”
NACD notes it is now more important than ever that federal spending legislation provides strong support for CTA as NRCS and partners work to administer recent investments in voluntary conservation programs. This includes the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program.
The letter also urges Congress to reject any changes in mandatory spending for these conservation programs to address the current backlog and to help an increasing number of producers voluntarily implement conservation of their lands.