WASHINGTON, D.C. â€“ August 7, 2017 â€“ The North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) publishedÂ The State of the Birds 2017Â report, documenting the benefits of the Farm Bill. Serving as Americaâ€™s single largest source of conservation funding for private lands, the Farm Bill is vital not only for our nationâ€™s farmers and ranchers, but for our birds and their habitat. Â
â€śFor more than 20 years, the Farm Bill has provided widespread conservation benefits for our nationâ€™s farmers, ranchers, sportsmen and all who enjoy clean drinking water, flood protection and healthy wildlife populations,â€ť said Ducks Unlimited Chief Scientist Tom Moorman. â€śMillions of acres of working lands are conserved through Farm Bill conservation programs that ensure long-term sustainability and productivity of the land that supports waterfowl and many other species of fish and wildlife.â€ť
As the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization is debated in Congress, the report calls attention to the benefits of investing in conservation on private lands, which make up nearly 70 percent of the land in the contiguous United States.
Farm Bill conservation programs support many kinds of partnerships with private landowners. These partnerships help protect vital prairie, grasslands and wetlands, feed North American waterfowl populations and create eco-benefits for farmers, ranchers and landowners.Â
The State of the Birds 2017Â report also identifies four top conservation priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill, representing the unified voice of NABCIâ€™s broad coalition:
1)Â Increase funding for the voluntary, incentive-based conservation programsÂ that support farmers and ranchers financially while also supporting our natural infrastructure of grasslands and wetlands.
2)Â Improve the impact of Farm Bill conservation programs on priority wildlife species, drawing on input from individual states.
3)Â Enhance Farm Bill public-private partnerships. Partner biologists hold the key to matching landowners with conservation programs that best fit the landownersâ€™ wildlife and land-use goals. Â
4)Â Support the use of science, including monitoring and evaluationÂ of Farm Bill conservation programs over time, to maximize the billâ€™s effectiveness and return on investment.