Congress has passed a long-awaited Farm Bill [H.R. 2642] that includes strong policies and programs to help conserve America's family-owned forests and the clean air and water, wildlife habitat, rural jobs, and recreational benefits that Americans enjoy from these lands.
"After years of hard work, we know this Farm Bill was well worth the wait. This legislation provides resources critical to implementing conservation practices on the ground and making good forest stewardship affordable," said Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation.
The improvements in the new Farm Bill, critical to ensuring long-term forest sustainability, include:
- Stronger market opportunities for forests, specifically with improvements to the Biobased Markets Program and a strengthened commitment to expanding prospects for wood in green building markets, the fastest growing market for wood products;
- Improved access to conservation resources, particularly the Conservation Stewardship Program, which rewards landowners for taking the 'next step' in conservation;
- Strong support for programs that combat forest invasive pests and pathogens and;
- Provisions to increase forest owners' regulatory certainty when protecting water quality.