Soil and water conservation continue to be prominent farm policy topics in the 109th Congress as the Administration administers an array of current programs and starts to prepare for the next farm bill. The last farm bill, enacted in 2002, increased spending and expanded the scope of the conservation effort by reauthorizing and amending many conservation programs and enacting new ones. Examples of increased spending in the 2002 farm bill include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Farmland Protection Program. Enrollment ceilings were raised for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Wetlands Reserve Program. Appropriators continue to influence conservation topics through their actions. For FY2006, they made cuts in several mandatory programs, while rejecting cuts to discretionary programs proposed by the Administration. They provided almost $500 million to the two emergency conservation programs and created a new forestry program in response to numerous hurricanes. Longer-term cuts were enacted in reconciliation legislation, but they do not reduce funding in FY2006. Reconciliation legislation also reduced funding for all discretionary conservation programs by 1%.
Soil and Water Conservation Issues
CRS Issue Brief
Jeffrey A. Zinn
Washington, DC: Congress Research Service
June 15, 2005