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John Crabtree, Lyons, Neb., Published April 30 2012

Conservation vital to farm bill

In coming weeks, farm state senators will review and revise the farm bill working draft put together by Sen. Debbie Stabenow. The Michigan senator, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, said conservation programs are more essential now than ever for creating rural jobs and protecting rural America’s natural resources. She also pointed to the importance of ensuring that the nation’s

1.3 billion agricultural acres produce healthy soil, water and wildlife habitat in addition to food and fiber.

With the debate moving forward in the Senate, this is a crucial time for everyone who cares about protecting natural resources to speak up. Your voice – letter, phone call or email – and influence with your senator, together with the same from thousands of others across the nation, will help keep the Conservation Stewardship Program strong and make sure conservation remains a priority.

According to the USDA, farm, ranch and related employment includes about 24 million jobs. The American Forest & Paper Association estimates that forestry industries produce about $175 billion in products annually and employ nearly 900,000 people. A study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that hunting, angling and wildlife recreation contribute $122 billion annually for our national economy. Much of this activity is located in rural areas and is vital to local economies.

Contact Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., (202) 224-2043, and Sen. John Hoeven, D-N.D., (202) 224-2551. Join me in standing up for conservation in the farm bill.


Crabtree is with the Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, Neb.