With the Senate Farm Bill passed and the House expected to begin markup of their version next month, a new National Farmers Union poll finds that most farmers reject cutting conservation funding and view environmental stewardship as key components to the farm bill and critical to their future and bottom line.
In poll results released this week, 86% of farmers say the level of conservation funding should be maintained or increased, while nearly half said they would be less likely to support a member of Congress who voted to cut conservation funding more than the $6 billion in the Senate's Farm Bill.
Conservation programs rank as the second-highest priority for inclusion in the farm bill, and farmers are not swayed by an argument that says conservation funding should be cut in order to prioritize risk management coverage.
The poll also found that by a nearly two-to-one margin, respondents thought that farmers should be required to meet some environmental standards in order to receive federal benefits such as crop insurance.
Additionally, farmers surveyed viewed conservation as a priority that is vital to their long-term economic viability with nearly three-quarters of respondents saying that conservation programs help their bottom line.
The bipartisan poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research—a Democratic polling firm—and and Public Opinion Strategies—a Republican polling firm—surveyed 502 American farmers across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
"The findings of this survey demonstrate the deep commitment to conservation that farmers have across the heartland," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "As Congress moves forward crafting the farm bill, we would emphasize the importance conservation programs play for farmers both for environmental stewardship and continued productivity."
NFU worked with Cultivate Impact to produce the poll. Click here to view all results.