Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Bolster Voluntary, Locally-Led Conservation Programs

Senator Working to Ensure Implementation of 2018 Farm Bill is Farmer-Friendly

BISMARCK, N.D. – At the America’s Grasslands Conference today, Senator John Hoeven outlined his efforts to make the conservation title under the 2018 Farm Bill more farmer-friendly, while also bolstering voluntary and locally-led conservation programs. Hoeven serves as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and is a member of the Agriculture Committee, and through these roles, he continues working to ensure the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) implementation of the farm bill achieves these goals.

“Farmers know their land and have the greatest stake in protecting it, which is why we focused on strengthening voluntary conservation programs in the farm bill that give producers the tools and support they need to be good stewards,” said Hoeven. “At the same time, we’ve worked to make USDA’s programs more farmer-friendly, including requiring site visits for the NRCS wetlands appeals process. We remain in consistent contact with the administration to advance these priorities as the 2018 Farm Bill is implemented, and we will continue to evaluate further improvements as we craft our appropriations legislation for the coming fiscal year.”

Hoeven, who served on the farm bill conference committee, worked to ensure the 2018 Farm Bill: 

  • Improves the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) wetlands determination process by requiring a site visit for participants who appeal their decision. 
  • Maintains the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), voluntary working lands programs that provide financial and technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices on their land.
  • Expands acreage under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which allows farmers to set aside environmentally sensitive land and encourage plant species that improve soil health in exchange for yearly rental payments.
  • Ensures funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which leverages private investment to design and implement voluntary conservation practices.
  • Supports agriculture research, including at North Dakota State University and the USDA Northern Grain Plains Research Lab in Mandan, which conduct research on innovative conservation practices for preserving and reclaiming land and water.