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Group: Ag Appropriations Bill Threatens Land, Food Security
USAgNet - 06/16/2011

The appropriations bill before Congress is risky and simply short-sighted when it comes to protecting our nation's agricultural resources and a healthy future for America. That's according to Jon Scholl, President of American Farmland Trust. He says cutting over half a billion dollars in this year's budget and targeting crucial and effective programs by another 20 percent or more in the 2012 budget is a 'dangerous step in the wrong direction,' and notes he hopes the Senate will restore some or all of these funds.

"Agriculture and conservation shouldn’t bear more than their fair share of cuts relative to other sectors," Scholl says. "Agriculture will be pressed to feed a population of over 10 billion by the end of the century, which is no small feat."

He says in the last 25 years, more than 23 million acres of farm and ranch land have been converted out of agricultural use to roads, strip malls and other types of sprawling development.

Coupled with the need to safeguard the nation's food supply is the need to support the contributions of farmland to the health of our environment.

"In addition to supplying food, fiber, and biofuels, farmland is a tremendous natural resource, providing filters for groundwater, clean air, wildlife habitat and greenhouse gas sequestration," Scholl says.

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