NACWA Legislative Alert LA06-5

Member Pipeline - Legislative - Alert (LA06-5)

To: Members & Affiliates;
Legislative Policy Committee
From: National Office
Date: August 10, 2006
Subject: 2007 Farm Bill Reauthorization & NACWA Options Paper
Reference: LA06-05

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Action Please By:
September 1, 2006

The House Agriculture Committee has completed 11 field hearings across the country to gather feedback from America’s farmers and ranchers in preparation for the reauthorization of the 2002 Farm Bill next year. Hearings also have been held on Capitol Hill, where in July 2006, the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit and Rural Development, convened a hearing to review conservation programs. Specifically, the subcommittee wanted to make sure that current programs are resulting in the intended environmental gains. The information gathered from these hearings and similar ones in the Senate will be taken into consideration as lawmakers begin the farm bill debate in early 2007.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) will take an active role in ensuring that the billions of dollars paid annually to farmers and ranchers under the Farm Bill’s conservation programs achieve real water quality benefits that accrue to urban, suburban, and rural waterways. NACWA’s Legislative Policy Committee met at the NACWA 2006 Summer Conference in Seattle, Wash., to discuss the Association’s draft options paper entitled 2007 Farm Bill Reauthorization and Potential Benefits for NACWA Members. Comments received at the meeting have been incorporated into the paper, which is now available for review and comment by the full NACWA membership. The paper provides a summary of the conservation programs in the 2002 Farm bill and an overview of the initiatives that NACWA intends to pursue to strengthen programs in the bill that address agricultural and livestock nonpoint pollution.

Proposed Legislative Goals
The NACWA Farm Bill paper was prepared to gather input from members on current agricultural support policy and to suggest options the Association might pursue on behalf of its members. According to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the “farm bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that not only involves farm programs, but conservation . . . and many other issues.”

NACWA believes that a reauthorized Farm Bill should provide both sound farm policy and a strong commitment to water quality. Therefore, NACWA proposes that the Association pursue the following goals during the Farm Bill reauthorization process:

  • maximize funding for water quality improvements through coordinated efforts with like-minded interest groups;

  • identify specific mechanisms for tracking the success of conservation measures;

  • seek language in the bill that would promote watershed-wide coordination between farmers and ranchers and publicly owned treatment works on how to maximize the funds available to meet the goals of the Clean Water Act; and,

  • incorporate language in the bill that would require better nutrient management and would affirm the right of farmers to choose the fertilizer they consider most cost-effective and beneficial.

NACWA Requests Member Review
NACWA will be finalizing its legislative goals for the reauthorization of the 2006 Farm Bill prior the NACWA 2006 Fall Strategic Leadership Retreat & Board of Directors Meeting in mid-September. NACWA is requesting Members to review the paper and forward any comments to Lee Garrigan, NACWA’s Legislative Affairs Director (, by Friday, September 1, 2006.