Farm Bill 

Recent IA Activities 

IA Submits Letter in Support of 2014 Farm Bill

Jan. 27, 2014  
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Agricultural Act of 2014 (otherwise known as the 2014 farm bill) by a vote of 251 – 166 on Jan. 27, 2014. The U.S. Congress reauthorizes, as required by law, the farm bill every five years, shaping Department of Agriculture programs for upcoming years.
The process to pass a new farm bill began in 2010, with Democratic-led field hearings throughout the United States. When Republicans took control of the House in 2011, after the 2010 elections, the process started again from scratch. The effort to pass a five-year bill was derailed in June 2013 by disagreements over subsidy payments, food stamp reform and the milk program. With the major differences resolved and a final bill passed by the House, the Senate is now scheduled to vote on the bill Feb. 3, 2014. If passed by the Senate, the legislation will be sent to President Obama for his signature.
The Irrigation Association issued a letter of support to congressional leadership shortly after the passing of the farm bill in the House. The support letter can be viewed here. 

IA Provides Outlined Overview of 2014 Farm Bill’s Conservation Title

Jan. 27, 2014  
The 160-page conservation title was one of the first titles that earned bipartisan support during the farm bill debate. The new title streamlines existing programs and creates new ones, including re-authorizing the Environmental Quality Incentives Program through 2018. EQIP, the farm bill’s largest conservation program, also received a boost in annual authorized funding, reaching $1.75 billion for fiscal year 2018. The revised EQIP continues to allocate at least 60 percent of program funding to livestock production. The title also adds a 5-percent carve-out for wildlife habitat enhancement, due to folding the old Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program into EQIP.
The Irrigation Association created a five-page outlined overview of the title, which can be viewed here. 

IA Submits Recommendations to House Committee on Agriculture

May 18, 2012  
On April 26, the Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry conducted a hearing on conservation programs relating to the formulation of the 2012 farm bill. In an effort to build upon that hearing and obtain as much information as possible, the House Committee on Agriculture requested that interested parties submit their recommendations for the 2012 farm bill. 
The Irrigation Association submitted our official recommendations to the committee on May 18. To view IA’s comments, please click here.

IA Testimony to the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry

July 18, 2011  
On July 7, 2011, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry conducted a hearing entitled, “Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of Conservation Programs.”  During the hearing, Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Dave White, testified to the benefits of the conservation programs administered by the NRCS and the USDA’s desire to see these programs continue through the development of the 2012 farm bill.
The subcommittee also invited the Irrigation Association to submit comments for the official record, which were submitted on July 18, 2011.  Click here to view IA’s statement. 

IA Letter to Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry Leadership

June 15, 2011  
In response to a May 26, 2011, hearing entitled, “Food for Thought: The Role, Risks and Challenges for American Agriculture and the Next Farm Bill in Meeting the Demands of a Growing World,” the IA sent a letter to Committee Chairwoman Senator Debbie Stabenow (Dem.- Mich.) and Senator Pat Roberts (Rep. – Kans.) regarding the Irrigation Association’s position on the benefits of efficient irrigation in meeting the current and future demands of our growing global population, specifically focusing on the need for a safe and reliable food supply.  Click here to view the IA’s letter. 

IA 2010 Legislative Conference

May 18-20, 2010 
 EQIP funding was one of the priority issues during IA’s 2010 Legislative Conference. Thirty members heard presentations by policy makers and influencers and participated in more than 45 meetings with elected officials and staffers to discuss issues facing the irrigation industry.
Attendees asked Congressional leaders to adhere to the $1.588 billion EQIP authorization allocated by the 2008 Farm Bill. 

Clarification Regarding USDA's Announcement for Additional California Drought Relief Funding

March 31, 2010  
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently pledged an additional $10 million to California farmers struggling with drought-related water restrictions. The funding is offered through a special drought initiative under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
The new EQIP funding adds "the option of converting farms to highly water-efficient micro-irrigation systems." IA staff has confirmed with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service that both micro-irrigation and sprinkler irrigation systems will be eligible for the additional funding.
California growers will be able to select which type of efficient irrigation system best fits their operation while gaining relief from the area's crippling droughts. Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare counties are eligible for drought assistance. Registration for the drought initiative will run through April 9, 2010.
For more, read USDA's press release or the detailed program description. 

Fiscal Year 2011 EQIP Appropriation

March 19, 2010  
The Irrigation Association recently submitted testimony to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Industries. IA’s testimony requested that the committee appropriate the mandatory spending level of $1.588 billion for Fiscal Year 2011 for EQIP.
Read IA’s testimony on the EQIP appropriation.