An Historic Farm Bill - Doubling Support Conservation on America's Farms and Ranches
The 2002 Farm Bill, signed by President Bush, provided the Federal Government’s largest commitment to rural conservation. Beyond that historic effort, the President has launched numerous other initiatives and programs to improve ecosystems. The President’s Healthy Forests Initiative is restoring, rejuvenating, and protecting forests and rangelands while reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfires that tragically destroy wildlife habitat, homes and families, and prevent immediate forest or rangeland recovery. The 10-Year Comprehensive Strategy and Implementation Plan, which also addresses the threat of wildfires, was developed by the Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, the Western Governors Association, local governments, tribes, and interested members of the public. It is a collaborative approach for reducing the risk of wildland fires to communities and wildlife habitat.
The President is also meeting his commitment to restoring the salmon population in the Columbia River watershed in the Pacific Northwest, while maintaining affordable electricity and job growth that depends on the hydropower system. The President’s FY 2005 budget provides more than $600 million for Columbia River system salmon, through the Department of Energy/Bonneville Power Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce. This amount includes discretionary funding of $342 million, a $15 million increase over 2004. The President’s FY 2005 budget also provides $100 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund to assist states, tribes, and local governments with thousands of projects that benefit Pacific coastal salmon in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Alaska. This represents a $10 million increase over 2004. Restoration of endangered salmon stocks is important for environmental quality, Native American communities, commercial and recreational fishermen, and the economic vitality of the Pacific Northwest.
President Bush also recommended designation of new wilderness areas: 1.4 million-acres in the Chugach National Forest in Alaska -- the first wilderness recommendation in more than a decade, and the largest single Executive Branch recommendation for wilderness on National Forest system lands in several decades – and 64,000 acres to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests,
An Historic Farm Bill – Doubling Support for Conservation on America’s Farms and Ranches
"This bill offers incentives for good conservation practices on working lands. For farmers and ranchers, for people who make a living on the land, every day is Earth Day. There’s no better stewards of the land than people who rely on the productivity of the land. And we can work with our farmers and ranchers to help improve the environment."
President George W. Bush
On May 13, 2002, President Bush signed the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 into law, the single most significant commitment of resources toward conservation on private lands in the Nation’s history. Responding to the Administration’s efforts, the bill will provide more than $40 billion in funding for conservation over the next decade. These resources are needed to address a broad range of emerging conservation challenges faced by farmers and ranchers, including soil erosion, water conservation, wetlands, wildlife habitat, and farmland protection. Private landowners will benefit from a range of programs that provide voluntary assistance, including cost-sharing, land rental, incentive payments, and technical assistance. The bill places a strong emphasis on the conservation of working lands, ensuring that these lands remain both healthy and productive.
Through 2007, the Farm Bill authorizes USDA to: