All of us here at Lowcountry Land Trust were pleased this week to learn the Farm Bill is poised to build new opportunities for land conservation here in the Lowcountry and across our nation. As of yesterday, the bill passed the Senate and the House, and is now headed to the White House, where a signature from President Donald Trump would make the bill law. The bill adopts many of the changes we, our partners and supporters had hoped to see.
The many good changes the 2018 Farm Bill would enact include:
- Increasing funding for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program to $450 million/year;
- Removing the Agriculture Land Easement plan requirement;
- Allowing landowner donations and expenses to satisfy match requirements;
- Granting the secretary waiver authority from the Adjusted Gross Income limitation; and
- Allowing certified entities to write their own minimum deed terms.
With these changes, the bill will make the Agriculture Land Easement (ALE) program more effective and more efficient by providing flexibility for producers, land trusts and federal agencies. This saves the federal government significant time and money, which essentially saves us all money. It will conserve more farms and ranches.
For more information on how this Farm Bill agreement benefits land conservation, the Land Trust Alliance provides additional information click here.