NACWA's Farm Bill Working Group Discusses Next Steps

four(January 31, 2018) - NACWA’s Farm Bill Workgroup -- comprised of Association public agency members with a strong interest in the Bill and/or conservation programs – held a conference call last week to discuss the next steps in securing NACWA’s priorities in the upcoming Bill. The Farm Bill’s five-year reauthorization expires on September 30.

NACWA has been actively engaged over the past several months with members of both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to secure inclusion of NACWA’s priorities under the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill. NACWA’s priorities focus on increasing opportunities for clean water agencies to participate in conservation and for programs that support watershed-based and cooperative nutrient management approaches, as well as supporting the use of agricultural technology and precision conservation to help address water quality impairments.

The Workgroup discussed that the House Agriculture Committee has the goal of marking up their version of the Farm Bill and bringing it before the full House during the first quarter of this year. Action by the Senate Agriculture Committee is more likely to occur in the second quarter. Opportunities for NACWA member advocacy were discussed.  The Workgroup also examined the contentious politics of certain key components of the broader Farm Bill which could complicate the Bill’s progress, including potential reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as some Members of Congress wanting to pass an additional disaster relief package before moving into Farm Bill negotiations. If legislative extensions are necessary, passage of a “must do” Farm Bill would likely occur in the subsequent months.

NACWA will continue working closely with Congress to advocate for inclusion of clean water priorities as the Committee bills are drafted and considered.  Please contact Jason Isakovic or Kristina Surfus, NACWA’s Legislative Directors, to discuss further.