Valley rancher participates in farm bill conservation programs discussion |

Valley rancher participates in farm bill conservation programs discussion

Staff Reports

Genoa rancher J.B. Lekumberry was among 28 private landowners and 30 conservation partners, representing 12 western states who gathered to refine recommendations on how to better deliver farm bill conservation programs on private lands and across jurisdictional boundaries.

Lekumberry joined eight other Nevada ranchers, including Nevada Cattlemen’s president JJ Goicoechea, Joe Guild, Georgia Black, Randy Emm, John Falen, David Spicer, Ray Hendrix and Duane Coombs.

“Farm Bill conservation programs have a proven track record,” said Jim Faulstich of South Dakota’s Daybreak Ranch. “We need to maintain the use of Farm Bill conservation programs to retain working lands for sustainable agriculture and wildlife, and communicate with decision-makers about their importance.”

The landowner-led meeting in Reno was the second Farm Bill Forum hosted by the Intermountain West Joint Venture, Partners for Conservation, and the University of Montana-College of Forestry and Conservation. In June 2011, eight recommendations were developed by western ranchers and farmers aimed at sustaining vibrant agricultural markets, supporting and streamlining voluntary incentive-based conservation, and promoting new and innovative ways to deliver conservation across mixed ownership patterns. A published report was developed and shared with numerous decision-makers, providing an important basis for current deliberations on the Farm Bill.

The goal of the meeting was to expand the landowner network, refine the report, and formulate a plan of action to ensure effective implementation of conservation programs-to provide meaningful natural resource benefits while also helping sustain the economic viability of working lands. The meeting was unique in its emphasis on producers convening and leading the discussion from a grassroots perspective, and offering solutions to help solve intractable issues related to federal conservation programs.

The timing for the meeting was important given the status of Farm Bill deliberations. The Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act (a.k.a the Farm Bill) by a vote of 64-35 on June 21. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Sen. Pat Roberts,R-Kan., the committee’s ranking member, worked together to secure a bipartisan vote. Attention now turns to House of Representatives as they discuss their own version of the Farm Bill beginning July 11.