Published May 3, 2011

Protect the Water You Drink, Water You Need – Make a Call

By Sarah Carlson

Protect the Water You Drink, Water You Need – Make a Call
Take a long drink, and think, for just a minute, about water.  Do you cherish clean water to drink?  Do you like swimming, fishing, or boating?  Birdwatching?  Gardening?

Water is the foundation of our lives, and it is becoming a scarce resource, and clean water even scarcer.  So it’s especially alarming that the recently passed Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations bill cut $500 million from key federal conservation programs that pay farmers and landowners for practices that keep it flowing, keep it clean, and keep it where it belongs – in waterways and wetlands, avoiding catastrophic floods.  Even worse, President Obama’s budget for next year proposes to cut them by $1 billion more!

Federal conservation programs help farmers install measures that recharge groundwater and keep animals and their manure out of streams and lakes.   Conservation programs restore wetlands, protect farmland, and create wildlife habitat.  They also bring money into communities, creating stable jobs in fishing, hunting, recreation, and tourism.

The 2008 Farm Bill wisely set aside funding for conservation programs – like the Conservation Stewardship Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and Wetlands Reserve Program.  But these programs have now become targets for budget cutters. The President’s proposed cuts, in addition to the immediate $1 billion cut would set the stage for permanent cuts to conservation in the 2012 Farm Bill of $5 billion! These are false budget savings that endanger the nation’s supply of clean water and capacity to produce food for future generations at a cost that would far outweigh the current investment in farm conservation.

Congress is about to make decisions on Fiscal Year 2012 funding priorities.  Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Tom Latham are on the subcommittees that decide agriculture funding levels. It’s important that you let them know you oppose cuts to farm bill conservation programs.

Please put your glass down for one minute.  That’s all it takes to call Senator Harkin’s office at (202) 224-3254.   Ask for his aide, Richard Bender, or leave your message with the receptionist. Rep. Latham’s aide is Emily Clark, at (202) 225-5476.

The message is simple:  Thank you for your past strong support. Please continue to protect my right to clean water and vibrant communities.  Don’t cut federal farm bill conservation programs in the Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bill.   Water is the foundation of Iowa’s prosperity.


Click here to read more about federal conservation programs on the NSAC website.

Your call is important. Thank you for taking a minute to protect the water you drink, the water Iowa needs.

Please click here to tell us how your call went.