Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma issued the following statement welcoming the news in recent reports that the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Board voted to oppose conservation compliance linked to crop insurance.
"Conservation compliance measures tied to crop insurance would be a misguided and redundant regulatory burden imposed on farmers and their property rights. I am philosophically opposed to this linkage and applaud AFBF's decision to support this position.
"Conservation compliance is already the law of the land. All farmers who receive assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) commodity, conservation, and credit programs are required to protect our nation's wetlands and environmentally-sensitive croplands. I am a firm believer in these conservation compliance standards, as well as voluntary, incentive-based conservation practices. And, I share the concerns of AFBF regarding the inconsistency with which conservation compliance provisions could be implemented on a state-by-state and county-by-county basis.
"Crop insurance is not a traditional benefit to producers. A grower must purchase a crop insurance policy and must suffer a verifiable loss. Sometimes this means a grower must suffer a 50 percent loss before collecting a payment. Tying conservation compliance to crop insurance would create another layer of bureaucratic, red tape potentially endangering a farmer's livelihood. This is during a time when USDA is already overwhelmed with determining wetland designations for producers who are subject to compliance.
"Farmers and ranchers are the best possible stewards of their land. They are already successfully using conservation practices to protect our natural resources."