Farmers’ livelihoods, their ability to feed a growing population and the legacy they pass on to their children all depend on taking care of the land and using natural resources wisely.

NAWG advocates for strong conservation programs and works with growers and USDA to implement them properly. NAWG also works with coalition partners to help ensure sustainability initiatives work on the farm.

Key Farm Bill Conservation Programs

Conservation programs passed in the 2014 Farm Bill help producers maintain and improve their land through cost-sharing and project development.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

The 2014 Farm Bill reduced the acre cap for CRP to 24 million acres and provided for managed harvesting of biomass subject to the purposes of CRP and soil, water and wildlife considerations. For more, visit the USDA CRP page.

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

This is a voluntary program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt new ones. The program was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill and capped at 10 million acres enrolled per fiscal year. For more visit the USDA CSP page.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

EQIP provides cost-share payments and technical assistance to producers undertaking certain conservation practices and activities. For more visit the USDA EQIP page.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated the Wetland Reserve Program, the Grassland Reserve Program and the Farmland Protection Program into one easement program. For more information, visit the USDA ACEP page.

Sustainability and the Field to Market Alliance

NAWG is engaged in conversations about sustainability as they relate to farms and the food system. A third- or fourth-generation farmer’s idea of sustainable practices might be very different than that of a city-dweller far removed from the farm. Bridging the knowledge gap is an important part of these discussions.

NAWG has joined producer representatives, conservation groups, members of academia and others in the Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture coalition, which has the goal of defining, measuring and documenting changes in sustainability over time, allowing agriculture to better tell its story about gains that have already been made and set priorities for next steps. Through these efforts, agriculture groups hope to strike a long-term balance between environmental concerns, natural resource concerns and feeding an estimated nine billion people by the year 2050.

Field to Market offers an online calculator to help producers assess their use of land, energy and water, greenhouse gas emissions and soil loss and explore various scenarios that may help further improve their use of natural resources.The Alliance also undertakes and distributes extensive research about agricultural sustainability metrics over time.

For more information about Field to Market, visit their website.