How does Conservation Benefit You?
April 21, 2011
Major Funding Challenges Ahead for 2012 Farm Bill
On April 14th the Izaak Walton League, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) convened a meeting at Beaver Creek Reserve in Fall Creek to discuss priorities and strategy for conservation in the 2012 Farm Bill. Conservationists, farm group representatives, activists, and media representatives attended.
Wisconsin State Conservationist Pat Leavenworth presented details of how federal conservation programs work for Wisconsin. Duke Welter of Trout Unlimited’s Driftless Area Restoration Effort shared data and compelling stories about ways that conservation has benefited communities in direct economic terms. For example, Welter cited a study that found trout anglers alone generate an economic benefit of $1.1 billion per year for the multi-state Driftless Area. Bill Berry shared highlights from a Conservation Benefits report he authored for the National Association of Conservation Districts, including the multiple ways that conservation supports communities economically. Finally, Izaak Walton League’s Brad Redlin framed the Farm Bill discussion, emphasizing the need for conservation compliance.
Participants shared examples from their personal and professional experience of ways that conservation programs benefit Wisconsin and its communities – in economic and non-economic terms. The 2012 Farm Bill will witness major funding challenges for conservation, and as participants discussed their priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill, all agreed on the need to communicate the tremendous economic benefits that conservation provides to communities.