The National Association of Conservation Districts and other conservation groups have urged members of the Senate to support fair and reasonable funding levels for rural America, agriculture and agricultural conservation within the 2011 appropriations legislation. The groups believe the House-passed FY2011 appropriations bill, H.R. 1, singles out funding for agriculture and rural America for a disproportionately high cut. The bill includes a 51-million dollar cut to Conservation Technical Assistance, a 20-million dollar cut from the Watershed Rehabilitation Program and eliminates the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operation completely. In a letter the groups say – we understand the critical need to right America’s fiscal ship, but spending cuts must be done in a tempered and equitable way.
NACD President Gene Schmidt says – technical assistance funding is at a critically low level. It’s vital in ensuring critical, locally-led conservation initiatives, which not only help our communities maintain clean air, clean water and productive soils, but also help decrease energy-use and reduce damage from severe weather and other natural disasters.