As the National Association of Conservation Districts this week opens its Soil Health Forum and Conservation Tour in Indianapolis, Ind., national legislators in the House and Senate released two resolutions praising the potential of locally led, voluntary, incentive-based conservation.
It's a cause that will be more important than ever as agriculture attempts to feed nine billion people by 2050, said National Association of Conservation Districts President Earl Garber.
Nearly 3,000 conservation districts in the U.S. partner with local, state and federal entities to work with producers and landowners on the education, planning and implementation of conservation locally.
The House resolution, H.Con.Res.95, was introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. North Carolina is home to Brown Creek, the first Soil Conservation District in America.
"Protecting our natural resources through voluntary, incentive-based, private land conservation is a fiscally responsible and thoughtful approach to maintaining long-term sustainable growth for [North Carolina] and the entire country," Hudson said.
An identical Senate version, S.Con.Res.39, was introduced by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. Arkansas is home to the nation's first state conservation agency.
The NADC celebrated the resolutions at its Forum Monday with comments from Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who said that farmers contain the greatest desire to ensure soil health and water quality.
"Their livelihood is dependent on the land's productivity," Donnelly said. "Voluntary, incentive-based conservation techniques are important to provide farmers with the resources and technical assistance they need to develop locally driven resource conservation."
NACD is calling on all Senators and Representatives to support locally-led conservation by signing on as cosponsors of the bipartisan concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress regarding support for voluntary, incentive-based, private land conservation implemented through cooperation with local soil and water conservation districts.
"The cause of conservation crosses geographic, political and economic boundaries; it is truly something that everyone can and should support. Caring for our natural resources is one of the greatest legacies we can leave for our future generations," Garber added.
During the remainder of the forum and tour, which runs until July 23, participants will tour several Indiana farms, the Glass Barn and the Pathway to Water Quality exhibits at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, and will discuss technical and economic elements of conservation programs.
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