Last week, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) released its State of the Birds 2017 report, documenting the many benefits of the Farm Bill to birds, farmer, and rural communities. NABCI is a coalition of 28 federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations including Audubon, and bird-focused partnerships that advance biological, social, and scientific priorities for North American bird conservation.
The Farm Bill is the largest source of federal conservation funding—hundreds of millions of dollars are available to private landowners to keep wetlands, grasslands, and other fragile lands protected. Farm Bill programs are critical to birds and other wildlife—in 2015 alone, almost 9 million acres of wildlife habitat were improved.
The report also identifies four top conservation priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill, representing the unified voice of NABCI’s broad coalition:
- Increase funding for the voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs that support farmers and ranchers financially while also supporting our natural infrastructure of grasslands and wetlands.
- Improve the impact of Farm Bill conservation programs on priority wildlife species, drawing on input from individual states.
- Enhance Farm Bill public-private partnerships. Partner biologist positions hold the key to matching landowners with conservation programs that best fit the landowners’ wildlife and land-use goals.
- Support the use of science, including monitoring and evaluation of Farm Bill conservation programs over time, to maximize the bill’s effectiveness and return on investment.
For more information about Audubon’s working lands conservation strategy and our position on the Farm Bill, please visit our Working Lands page.