May 08, 2008

Crapo Hails Inclusion Of ESA Incentives In Farm Bill

Farm Bill Conference Agreement announced today

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Agriculture and Finance Committees, is encouraged that Farm Bill negotiators have presented a Farm Bill conference agreement that includes a permanent tax deduction for Endangered Species Act (ESA) expenditures. Crapo has introduced legislation seeking tax credits for landowners who volunteer to protect endangered species on their private property and said he will continue to seek credits for participation in ESA programs.

"Landowner incentives like permanent tax deductions and tax credits are critical to the involvement of private property owners in assisting with the protection of endangered species on their property," Crapo said. "This is a major step in efforts to protect these species, since the majority of habitat is on private land. Forming a financial partnership is likely to engage more private property owners and recover more endangered species.

"The Farm Bill covers a broad array of programs including commodity, conservation, rural development, nutrition, energy and more," added Crapo. "I look forward to further reviewing the agreement as more of the details are shared. The Farm Bill needs to be completed to provide some certainty to farm families and all those impacted by the Farm Bill."

Crapo said initial reports on provisions in the agreement include:

• An increase of more than $4 billion for Farm Bill conservation programs, which have been instrumental in bringing about environmental benefits.

• Continued support for farm families and more than $1 billion through a new Specialty Crops Title for programs important to specialty crop producers, a vital sector of Idaho' s agriculture economy.

• A more than $10 billion increase in funding for nutrition programs. The increase includes a broad expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program that Crapo worked to extend to Idaho students.

• The establishment of a cellulosic biofuels credit, and other programs to increase biofuels production.

The agreement would clear the way for consideration of the Farm Bill agreement by the full U.S. Senate and House of Representatives as early as next week.