In a press release this morning, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue unveiled his department’s 2018 farm bill and legislative priorities. “These principles,” the head of the USDA said, “are our way of letting Congress know what we’ve heard from the hard-working men and women of American agriculture.”
Among the secretary’s priorities are the following forestry-specific goals, which the nation’s 59 state and territorial foresters wholeheartedly support:
- Make America’s forests work again through proactive cost-effective management based on data and sound science.
- Expand Good Neighbor Authority and increase coordination with states to promote job creation and improve forest health through shared stewardship and stakeholder input.
- Reduce litigative risk and regulatory impediments to timely environmental review, sound harvesting, fire management and habitat protection to improve forest health while providing jobs and prosperity to rural communities.
- Offer the tools and resources that incentivize private stewardship and retention of forest land.
The nation’s 59 state and territorial foresters are thrilled to hear the USDA is so staunchly committed to enhancing active forest management across America’s forests.
“We could not be more pleased with the goals USDA has for forestry- and wildfire- specific legislation in 2018,” said Jay Farrell, NASF’s executive director. “NASF has published a short list of what policy and funding changes should be made in the 2018 Farm Bill and through wildfire funding and federal forest management reform legislation to best conserve working forest landscapes, protect forests from harm, and enhance public benefits from trees and forests. The secretary’s legislative goals align with these recommendations, and we look forward to contributing however we can to ensure these goals are achieved.”