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Coalition Letter: Reid/McConnell/Boehner/Pelosi - "Hold the Line" Letter (June 14, 2012)

Dear Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Minority Leader Pelosi:

We are large and small organizations, businesses and landowners from all across America who believe that the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill is vital to the future of our country’s natural resources. We commend the efforts of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to move the Farm Bill forward in these fiscally challenging times, but as this process progresses, we urge that no further cuts be made to funding for the Conservation Title of the bill beyond the level approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 26th, 2012.

The Conservation Title programs are both popular and highly effective. They recognize that the health of America’s soil, water, wildlife, and other natural resources is essential to the long term productivity and economic viability of agriculture and forestry, that protecting and managing our natural resources is critical to the future of American communities, and that most of our nation’s opportunities for hunting, fishing, and observing nature depend upon privately owned habitat on working farms, ranches and forest land. The Conservation Title programs help to protect these resources in a uniquely successful way—by funding a variety of voluntary partnerships and cooperative conservation efforts between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and private landowners. These conservation programs are essential to the sustainability of U.S. agriculture and forestry and to meeting the growing demand for food and fiber at home and abroad.

Farm Bill Conservation Title programs are high-leverage investments in rural America. Resulting projects catalyze additional public and private investments, creating jobs and energizing local economies. In many parts of the country there are long waiting lists of landowners who would like to participate in such programs as the Wetlands Reserve Program, the Grasslands Reserve Program, and the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program. And because the demand for farm products and increased production are placing ever-greater pressure on soil and water resources, programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program, which help landowners undertake conservation practices on working lands, are more needed now than ever.

Since the 2008 farm bill was enacted, Conservation Title programs have already been cut significantly through the annual appropriations process, particularly in the last two agriculture appropriations bills, and these cuts have had real and unfortunate impacts on the ground. The additional significant cuts to conservation funding included in the bill advanced by the Senate

Agriculture Committee, if enacted, mean that the Conservation Title is already contributing more than its fair share to budget deficit reduction. While policy improvements can help reduce the impact of these additional cuts, they will, nevertheless have a negative impact on the ground. Further cuts would jeopardize this country’s entire system of successful agricultural and forestry conservation programs. And so we urge you to hold the line on Conservation Title funding at the amounts provided in the bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 26th, 2012.

Maintaining, strengthening, and providing sufficient funding for the Conservation Title programs will deliver multiple benefits for every region of America. Not the least of these is helping America’s farmers, ranchers, and private forest land owners to stay on the land as stewards of America’s natural resources.

Thank you for your consideration of our views on this critical matter.

Respectfully,
523 National, State and Local Organizations, Businesses and Landowners
National Organizations
AG Business Consultants
Agren
American Bird Conservancy
American Farmland Trust
American Fisheries Society
American Forest & Paper Association
American Forests
American Rivers
American Sportfishing Association
Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
Association of State Floodplain Managers
Audubon
Bat Conservation International
Berkley Conservation Institute, Pure Fishing
Bill McGuire Conservation, LLC
CCOF
Center for Rural Affairs
Chicago Botanic Garden
Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo
Clean Water Network
Community Food Security Coalition
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
Ducks Unlimited
Ecological Farming Association
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Environmental Defense Fund
Equine Land Conservation Resource
Great Sunflower Project
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Izaak Walton League of America
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
Land Trust Alliance
Markon Cooperative
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Missouri BASS Federation Nation
National Association of Conservation Districts
National Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils
National Association of State Conservation Agencies
National Association of State Foresters
National Audubon Society
National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative
National Catholic Rural Life Conference
National Farmers Union
National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association
National Parks Conservation Association
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nature Abounds
NCAT
Oregon Tilth
Organic Farming Research Foundation
Organic Valley
Orion-The Hunters' Institute
Pesticide Action Network North America
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
Pheasants Forever, Inc.
Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation
Quail Unlimited
Quality Deer Management Association
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural
Save The Hens Foundation
Saving Birds Thru Habitat
Society of American Foresters
Soil and Water Conservation Society
Southern Maryland Audubon Society
The Conservation Fund
The Institute for Bird Populations
The Lyme Timber Company
The Nature Conservancy
The Praxis Project
The Trumpeter Swan Society
The Trust for Public Land
The Wildlife Society
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Trout Unlimited
Union of Concerned Scientists
Women, Food and Agriculture Network
World Wildlife Fund
Zimmer Environmental Improvement LLC
State and Local Organizations
AL
Cahaba Riverkeeper
National Farmers Trust
Weeks Bay Foundation
AR
Arkansas Canoe Club
Arkansas Forestry Association
Arkansas Wildlife Federation
Audubon Arkansas
Buffalo River Foundation
Central Arkansas Land Trust
Land Trust of Arkansas
Northwest Arkansas Land Trust
AZ
Arizona Land and Water Trust
North Country Conservancy
CA
California Association of Resource
Central Valley Farmland Trust
Conservation Districts
California Climate and Agriculture Network
California FarmLink
California Food and Justice Coalition
California Invasive Plant Council
California Native Plant Society
California Rangeland Trust
California Rice Commission
California Waterfowl Association
Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration
Central Valley Bird Club
City of Davis
Claravale Farm
Eastern Sierra Land Trust
Endangered Habitats League
Institute for Ecological Health
Lassen Land and Trails Trust
Marin Agricultural Land Trust
Mendocino Land Trust
Northern California Regional Land Trust
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
Ojai Valley Land Conservancy
Peninsula Open Space Trust
Rominger Brothers Farms
San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust
Santa Clara County Open Space Authority
Sequoia Riverlands Trust
Solano Land Trust
Sustainable Conservation
Watershed Research & Training Center
Wild Farm Alliance
Yolo Land Trust
CO
Black Canyon Regional Land Trust
Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts
Colorado Trout Unlimited
Colorado Wildlife Federation
Gunnison Ranchland Conservation Legacy
La Plata Open Space Conservancy
Larry D. Harvey, P.C.
Mesa Land Trust
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
San Isabel Land Protection Trust
CT
Connecticut Audubon Society
Connecticut Farmland Trust
Connecticut Land Conservation Council
Cornwall Conservation Trust Inc.
Farmington River Watershed Association
The Kent Land Trust
North Stonington Citizens Land Alliance
Roxbury Land Trust
Southbury Land Trust
Very Alive
Working Lands Alliance
DE
Delaware Wild Lands
JLCsurvey Land Surveying
FL
Adams Ranch
Alico, Inc.
Atlantic Blue Group, Inc.
CRCA Riverwatch
Durando Ranches
Florida Wildlife Federation
Friends of the Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges
JjW Sod
Joiner Consulting
Kissimmee Oaks Ranch
Northern Everglades Alliance
Okee Hammock
Old River Cattle Co.
Saunders Real Estate
Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy
Venture Four, LLC
GA
Environment Georgia
Flint Riverkeeper
Georgia Conservation Voters
Georgia Council Trout Unlimited
Georgia Land Conservation Center
Georgia River Network
Georgia Wildlife Federation
Georgia Wildlife Resources Division
The Georgia Conservancy
Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
HI
Conservation Council for Hawai'i
Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation
Hawaii Sheep and Goat Association
Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
Hawaii's Thousand Friends
Molokai Land Trust
North Shore Community Land Trust
Oahu Resource Conservation and Development Council
IA
Black Hawk Soil and Water District Commissioners
Cherokee County Pheasants Forever
Chickasaw County Conservation Board
Des Moines Water Works
Iowa Breast Cancer Edu-action
Iowa Chapter Soil and Water Conservation Society
Iowa Environmental Council
Iowa Floodplain and Stormwater Management Association
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Iowa Turkey Federation
Iowa's County Conservation System
Practical Farmers of Iowa
Prairie Rapids Audubon Society
Story County Soil and Water Conservation District
The University of Iowa
ID
Big Creek Ranch
Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation
Palouse Land Trust
Teton Regional Land Trust
IL
Bird Conservation Network
Environmental Law & Policy Center
Illinois Audubon Society
Illinois Environmental Council
Oak Brook Trout Unlimited
Openlands
Prairie Rivers Network
The Wetlands Initiative
IN
Clinton Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America
Dearborn County Farm Bureau Inc.
DeKalb County Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America, Inc.
Eagle Creek Watershed Alliance
Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District
Geist Fall Creek Watershed Alliance
Griffith Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America
Hoosier Environmental Council
Howard County Soil and Water Conservation District
Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Indiana Division, Izaak Walton League of America
Indiana Park and Recreation Association
Indiana State Council of Pheasants Forever
Indiana Wildlife Federation
Lake County Parks and Recreation Department
Lake Erie Waterkeeper, Save Maumee Program
Lincoln Hills Fish and Wildlife Committee
Oxbow, Inc.
Parke County Soil & Water Conservation District
Pheasants Forever Indiana State Council
Porter County Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America
Porter County Soil & Water Conservation District
Save the Dunes
Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District
Sycamore Land Trust
Vanderburgh Soil & Water Conservation District
Vermillion County, Indiana, Soil & Water Conservation District
Vigo County Soil & Water Conservation District
Wells Co. Soil and Water Conservation District
KS
Audubon of Kansas
Geary Co. Fish and Game Assoc.
Kansas Land Trust
Kansas Rural Center
Kansas Wildlife Federation
Ranchland Trust of Kansas
KY
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
Kentucky Environmental Education Projects, Inc.
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
Kentucky Waterways Alliance
LA
America's WETLAND Foundation
Black Bear Conservation Coalition
Gulf Restoration Network
Orleans Audubon Society
MA
Appalachian Mountain Club
Bolton Conservation Trust
Boxford Trails Association/ Boxford Open Land Trust, Inc.
Buzzards Bay Coalition
Environmental League of Massachusetts
Franklin Land Trust
Greater Newburyport Edible Garden Group
Hilltown Anti-Herbicide Coalition
Hull Land Conservation Trust
Land Conservation Associates
Mass Association of Conservation Commissions
Mass Audubon
Mass Climate Action Network
Mass Land Trust Coalition
Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust
Natural Resources Trust of Mansfield, Inc.
Pascommuck Conservation Trust
Rutland Land Conservancy
Sheffield Land Trust
MD
Baltimore County Land Trust Alliance
Chesapeake Bay Commission
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage
Friends of Herring Run Parks
Oxbow Associates, LLC
Piney Run Rural Legacy
Sportsman’s Hall Farm
ME
Maine Farmland Trust
Natural Resources Council of Maine
QDMA-Downeast Branch
Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association
MI
Cadillac Area Land Conservancy
Chikaming Open Lands
Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
HeadWaters Land Conservancy
Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy
Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition
Lapeer Land Conservancy
Leelanau Conservancy
Legacy Land Conservancy
Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
Two Rivers Coalition
WasteWater Education
MN
Audubon Minnesota
Central Minnesotas Audubon Society
Friends of the Mississippi River
Friends of the Refuge Headwaters
Izaak Walton League of America, Minnehaha Chapter
Land Stewardship Project
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Minnesota Chapter of the Wildlife Society
Minnesota Conservation Federation
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Minnesota Division Izaak Walton League of America
Minnesota Land Trust
Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society
St. Paul Audubon Society
Will Dilg Chapter Izaak Walton League
MO
Conservation Federation of Missouri
DA Watson & Company
Forrest Keeling Nursery
JR Fleming Forestry LLC
Missouri Coalition for the Environment
Missouri Forest Products Association
Missouri Parks Association
Missouri Prairie Foundation
MS
Lower Mississippi Foundation
Mississippi Cattlemen's Association
MT
Bitter Root Land Trust
Five Valleys Land Trust
Montana Association of Land Trusts
NC
Buncombe County Agricultural Advisory Board
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
Conservation Trust for North Carolina
Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Inc.
Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust
North Carolina Coastal Land Trust
North Carolina Trout Unlimited State Council
North Carolina Wildlife Federation
Northeast Pasture Consortium
Southeastern Section - The Wildlife Society
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
ND
North Dakota Natural Resources Trust
NE
Nebraska Big Game Society
Nebraska Chapter of The Wildlife Society
Nebraska Land Trust
Nebraska Sportsmen's Foundation
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society
Nebraska Wildlife Federation
Wachiska Audubon Society
NV
Ranch Open Space of Nevada
NH
Bear-Paw Regional Greenways
Ecosystem Management Consultants
Harris Center for Conservation Education
Monadnock Conservancy
NH Fish & Game Department
Society for the Protection of NH Forests
NJ
Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions
Bergen SWAN
Burnham Park Association
Conservation Resources Inc
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey
D&R Greenway Land Trust
Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space
Garden Club of Madison
Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association
Monmouth Conservation Foundation
Musconetcong Watershed Association
New Jersey Audubon
New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Highlands Coalition
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
NY/NJ Baykeeper
Pinelands Preservation Alliance
Raritan Headwaters Association
Ridge and Valley Conservancy
Schiff Natural Lands Trust
Stony Brook Milstone Watersheds Association
Tewksbury Land Trust
The Land Conservancy of New Jersey
NM
New Mexico Land Conservancy
NY
Adirondack Council
Agricultural Stewardship Association
Audubon New York
Esopus Creek Conservancy, Inc.
Indian River Lakes Conservancy
Mohonk Preserve
New York City Audubon Society
North Shore Land Alliance
Northeast Organic Farming Association-Interstate Council
Oblong Land Conservancy
Orange County Land Trust
Peconic Land Trust
Scenic Hudson
Serpentine Art and Nature Commons, Inc.
Somers Land Trust
Western New York Land Conservancy
Woodstock Land Conservancy
OH
Blanchard River Watershed Partnership
B-W Greenway Community Land Trust
Clinton County (Ohio) Open Lands
Friends of Lower Muskingum River
Little Beaver Creek Land Foundation
Ohio Division of Wildlife
Ohio Environmental Council
Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Ohio River Foundation
Ohio Wetlands Association
Western Reserve Land Conservancy
OK
Central Oklahoma Quail Forever
Grant County Conservation Commission
Oklahoma Assn. of Conservation Districts
OR
Central Coast Land Conservancy
Deschutes Land Trust
Elk River Land Trust
Greenbelt Land Trust
Josephine County Stewardship Group
Lake County Resources Initiative
McKenzie River Trust
Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides
Oregon Division of the Izaak Walton League of America
Oregon Habitat Joint Venture
Oregon Invasive Species Council
Oregon Rural Action
Salem Audubon Society
Siuslaw Institute
Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative
Sustainable Northwest
Wallowa Land Trust, Inc.
PA
Centre County Farmland Trust
Delaware Highlands Conservancy
Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County
Foundation for PA Watersheds
French Creek Valley Conservancy
Lake Erie Region Conservancy
Lancaster Farmland Trust
Lehigh County Agricultural Land Preservation Board
Pennsylvania Council of Churches
Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
South Branch Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Coalition
The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Woodsong Hollow Farm
SC
Beaufort Open Land Trust
Congaree Land Trust
GrowFood Carolina
Naturaland Trust
SC Coastal Conservation League
Upper Savannah Land Trust
Winyah Rivers Foundation
TN
Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee
Tennessee Clean Water Network
Tennessee Ornithological society
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
The Land Trust for Tennessee
TX
Connemara Conservancy
Houston Wilderness
Pines and Prairies Land Trust
Texas Land Trust Council
The Frontera Land Alliance
UT
Virgin River Land Preservation Association
VA
Capital Region Land Conservancy
Conservation Committee- Virginia Society of Ornithology
Fredericksburg-Rappahannock Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America
Friends of Dyke Marsh
Land Trust of Virginia
Local Food Hub
New River Land Trust
Northern Virginia Conservation Trust
Piedmont Environmental Council
Potomac Conservancy
Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance
Roanoke Valley Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America
Rockbridge Area Conservation Council
Shenandoah Valley Network
Southern Environmental Law Center
Trout Unlimited
Valley Conservation Council
Virginia Association for Biological Farming
VT
Greensboro Land Trust
Putney Mountain Association, Inc.
Vermont Land Trust
WA
Chehalis River Basin Land Trust
Chelan-Douglas Land Trust
Climate Solutions
Columbia Land Trust
Forterra
Jefferson Land Trust
Mason Conservation District
Mt. Adams Resource Stewards
Nisqually Land Trust
North Olympic Land Trust
Northwest Farm Bill Action Group
Northwest Natural Resource Group
Okanogan Land Trust
PCC Farmland Trust
San Juan County Land Bank
San Juan Preservation Trust
Skagit Land Trust
Tilth Producers of Washington
Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust
Whidbey Camano Land Trust
WI
Baraboo Range Preservation Association
Caledonia Conservancy
Cedar Lakes Conservation Foundation
Clean Wisconsin
Door County Land Trust
Driftless Area Land Conservancy
Gathering Waters Conservancy
Green-Rock Audubon Society
Madison Audubon Society
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
Muskego Lakes Land Conservancy
Natural Heritage Land Trust
River Alliance of Wisconsin
St. Croix River Association
Tall Pines Conservancy
Waukesha County Environmental Action League, Inc.
Wisconsin Audubon Council
Wisconsin Farmers Union
Wisconsin Lakes
Wisconsin Wetlands Association
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation
WV
West Virginia Agricultural Land Protection Authority
West Virginia Land Trust
WY
Wyoming Land Trust
Wyoming Stock Growers Association
Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust

Cc:
The Honorable Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
The Honorable Pat Roberts, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
The Honorable Frank D. Lucas, Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture
The Honorable Collin C. Peterson, Ranking Member, House Committee on Agriculture

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