Land Trust News

Kelly Kountz Photo / Courtesy of Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Key 2023 Farm Bill Issues Starting to Take Shape

      The 2023 Farm Bill may seem like it’s far into the future, but the Land Trust Alliance is leading an effort right now to identify and galvanize land trust consensus on a range of potential issues associated with 2023 Farm Bill provisions.

     Even as the Alliance, the Partnership of Rangeland Trusts, and others are currently working behind the scenes to possibly secure additional ACEP/ALE funding within a much-discussed congressional infrastructure package, work continues between the Alliance and land trust leaders, congressional staff, key Members of Congress and others on important provisions within the 2023 Farm Bill.

     The Alliance’s policy director, Lori Faeth, led a national land trust call on July 22 that highlighted some of the major goals and ongoing issues associated with Farm Bill reauthorization. 

      Among the goals: 

      * Ensure ACEP/ALE is properly funded

      * Create a new program to conserve forestlands

      * Ensure program flexibility for land trusts and landowners

      * Maintain strong and flexible RCPP

      * Greater access to ACEP in underserved communities and disadvantaged landowners 

      * Possible elimination of AGI requirements  

      * Refine buy-protect-sell language 

      * Ensure ALE Plan is not reestablished 

      * Clarify language about certified entities 

      The 2023 Farm Bill is a work in progress, but progress is being made and most of the Alliance Farm Bill goals align themselves closely with MALT Farm Bill goals. MALT’s top 2023 Farm Bill priority is additional ACEP / ALE funding. Right now, for FY21, Montana’s ALE funding allocation is about $20 million short of full funding for qualified projects. The NRCS has thankfully worked—and continues to work—to address that shortfall. But the national need for additional ACEP / ALE funding is chronic, and the 2023 Farm Bill is an ideal place to address that issue.