President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill on December 20, after the U.S. Senate and House passed the legislation which recognizes the importance of protecting drinking water sources from nutrient runoff.
“This is truly a historic moment for source water protection,” said American Water Works Association (AWWA) CEO David LaFrance. “The policy included in this Farm Bill will direct $4 billion dollars over the next ten years to conservation practices that protect sources of drinking water.”
The following are included in the final Farm Bill:
• Emphasis on source water protection through all Farm Bill conservation programs.
• 10% of Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation funding directed toward source water protection, an incredible total of $4 billion over the next ten years.
• Authorizes water utilities to work with State technical committees in identifying priority areas in each state.
• Additional incentives for farmers who employ practices that benefit source waters.
“AWWA began to engage in the Farm Bill process over two years ago to bring more attention to the issue of protecting sources of drinking water through conservation practices funded by the Farm Bill,” Tracy Mehan, AWWA Government Affairs Executive Director said. “We believe it’s important for USDA to emphasize protection of drinking water sources as part of its overall water quality and water quantity mission.”
Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), a member of several agriculture committees, says “We passed the Farm Bill with broad, bipartisan support and by building on the strengths of both the Senate and House versions. We look forward to the President signing the bill into law. This long-term farm bill is important, not just for our farmers and ranchers, but for every American.”