Press Release

Proposed Farm Bill Would Preserve and Empower the Midwest

Senator Stabenow Delivered The Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act on Wednesday

Washington DC – U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow today released the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act of 2024, a detailed farm bill proposal that focuses on enhancements to greenhouse gas reductions, protecting IRA investments in Conservation Title programs, and climate smart agriculture. The current farm bill, which expired in 2023 but was extended through September 2024, is the primary driver of agricultural and food policy in the United States. Congress typically passes a new farm bill every five years.  

ELPC has worked to advance three major priorities in the bill: (1) Improvements to the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP); (2) A provision for the Driftless Area Land Conservation Initiative (DALCI); and (3) New wilderness in the Shawnee National Forest.  

Andy Olsen, ELPC Senior Policy Advocate, said regarding REAP: 

“The Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act is a promising development for advancing economic and climate security in rural America, and we welcome Senator Stabenow’s proposals. REAP is both popular and successful because it cuts input costs, boosts profits, and advances environmental care with clean energy to strengthen our rural communities. Updating REAP with these new innovations will serve all American agriculture across sectors and size ranges, reach every state, and provide benefits for the entire nation.” 

Steve Falck, ELPC Senior Policy Advocate, said regarding DALCI:  

“The Driftless Area is the Midwest’s premier biodiversity hotspot, forming the largest contiguous area of fish and wildlife habitat remaining in the Central United States. DALCI will help mitigate flooding by managing working lands for year-round ground cover to improve soil health, sequester carbon, improve water quality, restore prairies, improve the health of oak savannas and barrens, and restore cold water streams while improving trout habitat. DALCI will help better coordinate critical Conservation Title Programs in this unique geographic region. We appreciate Senator Durbin’s leadership on this in the Senate and support the bipartisan DALCI bill in the House, H.R. 4248.” 

Howard Learner, ELPC Executive Director, said regarding Shawnee National Forest Designations:  

“Home to the Garden of the Gods, the Little Grand Canyon, and Inspiration Point, the Shawnee National Forest hosts some of the most spectacular and special landscapes in the Midwest. These scenic lands deserve the highest form of protection the nation can offer, and we are thrilled to see provisions for new wilderness in the Shawnee as well as creation of new special management areas covering 12,000+ acres. We also thank Senator Durbin for his leadership in securing these new designations.” 

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