IA Times, May 2018

IA announces support of draft House farm bill

The House of Representatives Agriculture Committee released its proposed farm bill draft on April 12, and the Irrigation Association welcomed the proposed changes outlined in the conservation title.

For more than four years, the IA has been working with members of Congress, congressional staff and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that efficient irrigation is reflected in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill. Part of the IA’s advocacy efforts included outlining the association’s farm bill priorities and heading to Capitol Hill where members and staff met with congressional offices to promote the importance of efficient irrigation.

These efforts paid off, as shown through the draft legislation. The IA specifically worked to cultivate changes to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and those changes are reflected in this conservation title.

The draft farm bill released by the House Agriculture Committee

  • establishes new authority for irrigation districts, associations and acequias to manage EQIP contracts.
  • eliminates the 60 percent livestock carve out in EQIP.
  • expands EQIP’s authority to include these provisions that are currently within the Conservation Stewardship Program, thus eliminating the CSP.
  • increases EQIP’s funding from $2 billion in fiscal year 2019 to $3 billion in 2023.

The IA staff celebrates this accomplishment with its members and thanks them for their dedication to promoting efficient irrigation through the many advocacy efforts and programs. Members of Congress have many organizations vying for their time and attention, and the inroads made through efforts such as the recent IA fly-in made an invaluable impact.

This is only the first step in the process. The farm bill has more hurdles to clear before it is passed. Our goal is to ensure the changes in the proposed House Agriculture Committee draft stay in the farm bill as it moves through the House and Senate. Contact your member of Congress to indicate your support for the proposed conservation title and farm bill.

Contact your member of Congress today!