Capito, Casey introduce bill to support farmers’ efforts to mitigate climate change, improve water quality

Bill directs USDA to measure, evaluate, and report on conservation program outcomes to benefit farmers, stewardship, taxpayer accountability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.) introduced a bill that would direct the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a process through which it could measure, evaluate, and report on conservation program outcomes. The Farmer-Driven Conservation Outcomes Act of 2020 would authorize a system through which USDA could quantify the environmental benefits of conservation activities in order to demonstrate their impact and further improve program performance.

“West Virginia has made great strides in improving its water quality and land management practices, benefitting ecosystems throughout the state and better protecting the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay, but there remains much work to be done. Over the years, the number of conservation programs across departments and agencies have proliferated, and there has never been a full accounting of their individual efficacy. Assessing these programs is needed to ensure taxpayers are receiving the best bang for the buck for their investments as well as to confirm federal conservation initiatives are having their intended effects in benefitting the environment. I am pleased to work across the aisle with Senator Casey to introduce this legislation to better inform the public and policymakers about best practices in our agricultural conservation efforts – this is just the sort of good governance policies we need more of,” Senator Capito said.

“Farmers are leading stewards of the land, and they can and must be part of the solution when it comes to mitigating climate change and improving water quality,” said Senator Casey. “In order to be able to tell the story of farmers’ conservation efforts, as well as to demonstrate the return on taxpayer investment, it is essential that we be able to accurately measure outcomes, including metrics like how many tons of carbon farmers are sequestering in the soil and how much nitrogen they are keeping out of our nation’s waterways. We also need to be able to evaluate and improve program and practice effectiveness to help farmers mitigate climate change, improve water quality and protect other critical natural resources. I am glad to introduce the Farmer-Driven Conservation Outcomes Act with Senator Capito to advance these critical goals.”

Read more about The Farmer-Driven Conservation Outcomes Act of 2020here.

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