March 16, 2017
Citing the need to continue to support rural communities, rural jobs, private forest owners, and the economic and environmental benefits forests provide, 42 organization’s participating in the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition today released a letter outlining initial priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill.
From our nation’s forests, we manufacture over $200 billion in products annually, aiding rural economies and providing almost one million direct jobs. They provide much of the clean air and water, wildlife habitat, forest products, and recreational opportunities that every American enjoys. More than half of the forestland in the United States (475 million acres) is in private ownership. The Coalition believes that it is especially important that the Farm Bill continue to support these owners, many of whom provide these benefits at little or no cost to consumers.
“For the past three Farm Bills, Congress has heard the voices of rural America and passed a strong, innovative forest policy,” said Tom Martin, president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation. “Unfortunately, our work is not done yet.”
“The nation’s 59 State Foresters know that the Farm Bill is a unique opportunity to support rural America’s economic backbone and improve the quality of life in our communities,” said Bill Crapser, Wyoming State Forester and president of the National Association of State Foresters. “Support for these critical programs will allow state forestry agencies and their partners to continue to conserve, protect and enhance America’s trees and forests.”
“The Farm Bill provides a unique opportunity to enhance America’s water, wood and wildlife across forests in the US,” said, Chris Topik, Director of Restoring America’s Forests of The Nature Conservancy. “The coalition’s priorities will help provide forest owners and…