Opening Statements

Opening Statement: Ranking Member Doug LaMalfa - Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry Public Hearing: “To Review Implementation of Farm Bill Conservation Programs”

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Washington, January 28, 2020 | comments
Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good morning. Thank you Chair Spanberger for calling today’s hearing to review the implementation of conservation programs in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018.

Over the course of 2019, we heard from many producers about the benefits of conservation and the assistance they receive from conservation programs. I learned of the many innovative conservation practices that California producers are implementing; including building healthy soils through cover cropping and reducing inputs through the use of precision agriculture.

Additionally, when this subcommittee reviewed USDA conservation programs last Spring, I appreciated receiving an update from USDA. I look forward to hearing more about the progress USDA is making in implementing 2018 Farm Bill conservation programs today.

Congress has prioritized voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs over the past several farm bills, helping farmers and ranchers reduce soil erosion, protect wetlands and wildlife habitat, and improve water quality and quantity.

In an effort to modernize the delivery of these programs, the 2014 Farm Bill made significant reforms—consolidating over 20 conservation programs into 13 while preserving the fundamental goals of those conservation programs. Writing the 2018 Farm Bill included efforts by the House Agriculture Committee to build upon those successes by streamlining, simplifying, and improving program administration.

We also fought to protect mandatory funding in the Conservation Title. The 2018 Farm Bill includes more flexibility in the delivery of CSP, a significant increase in funding for both EQIP and ACEP, the establishment of Conservation Incentive Payments, a separate funding allocation for RCPP, and an increase in the acreage cap for CRP.

In addition to these improvements we made significant investments in infrastructure, emphasized the protection of drinking water sources, created the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program, and expanded Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG).

I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish, and I am particularly proud of the farmers and ranchers who voluntarily participate in these conservation programs to preserve not only their land, but also their way of life.

Thank you, Chief Lohr and Administrator Fordyce, for taking time to be here today. I would also like to thank each of you and your teams for the technical support that was essential to writing the 2018 Farm Bill and also for, what I am sure have been many long hours, working on implementation.

And once again, thank you Chair Spanberger for holding this hearing. With that, I yield back.
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