WASHINGTON—In response to today’s adoption of the 2012 Farm Bill in the United States Senate, the National Association of State Foresters finds that the bulk of the legislation is consistent with their platform.
“While no Farm Bill can be perfect, we greatly appreciate the Senate providing many of the tools necessary for improving and maintaining the health of the nation’s forests,” said West Virginia State Forester and NASF President Randy Dye. “We recognize the budget climate necessitated difficult policy changes that limited and repealed other Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act authorities that are key to responding to the threats and issues identified in every state’s Forest Action Plan.”
The Senate-passed Farm Bill includes many important changes that maintain and improve participation among private forests in Conservation Title programs, provide important direction to the Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis Program and creates new market opportunities for forest products through changes to the Biobased Markets Program. The bill also permanently reauthorizes the stewardship contracting authority for use on the National Forest System—a proposal supported by resolution among the NASF membership.
“We greatly appreciate the continued support in the bill for the state Forest Action Plans and were pleased that amendments that would repeal the Forest Legacy Program, Conservation Stewardship Program and the Conservation Reserve Program did not come to pass,” said NASF Executive Director Jay Farrell. “We would have preferred to keep authorities such as the Watershed Forestry Assistance Program and the Cooperative National Forest Products Marketing Program so they might be funded in better fiscal times and available to better respond to priorities in state Forest Action Plans.”
State Foresters fully appreciate the difficult choices that come with spending decisions. NASF applauds the bipartisan work of Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts to craft a Farm Bill that responds to the nation’s fiscal situation while maintaining their support for the role forests play in delivering clean air, abundant water, jobs and many other environmental services.