By Ryan Martini
Oklahoma State Forester and NASF Vice President George Geissler testified about the next Farm Bill today before the House Agriculture Committee, Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.
"In generating ideas for [Congressional] consideration in the 2018 Farm Bill, NASF is honored to help lead the Forests in the Farm Bill coalition along with our partners," Geissler said in his testimony.
The Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition is composed of 99 member organizations with diverse forestry, conservation, and wildlife backgrounds. Today, NASF and the other members of the coalition sent a letter to Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Fudge of the Conservation and Forestry subcommittee. The letter expressed appreciation for the work of the chairman and ranking member on the past three Farm Bills and asked for their continued support of forest priorities in the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization.
The coalition included the following priorities for the next Farm Bill:
- Increase the long-term protection and conservation of forest resources from threats such as wildfire, insects and diseases including the use of fire as an important forest management tool,
- Conserve and enhance wildlife habitat through voluntary conservation activities, particularly habitat for at-risk species, to prevent the need to list species under the Endangered Species Act,
- Encourage the retention and perpetuation of forestland and associated values, goods, and services,
- Increase employment, manufacturing, rural jobs, and sustainable forest management through a strong forest products industry, and
- Improve forest conservation program effectiveness and availability to private landowners and land managers to address many of the above issues.
The coalition asked the committee to continue its work supporting America’s forests and to be an advocate on issues that extend outside of its jurisdiction.