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Rouzer Leads Coalition to Introduce Legislation Expanding Access to Ag Conservation Programs

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07) joined a bipartisan coalition to introduce the Growing Access to Environmental Sustainability (GATES) Act to reduce barriers producers face in accessing agricultural conservation programs. In addition to Congressman Rouzer, co-leading the legislation are Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19), John Duarte (R-CA-13), Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-08), Jim Costa (D-CA-21), Chuck Edwards (R-NC-11), and Lori Michelle Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR-5).

Current adjusted gross income (AGI) limitations often prevent producers with high input costs from participating in certain USDA conservation-focused programs in a meaningful way. These limitations have not kept pace with inflation and have reduced the overall impact of federal conservation efforts.

“Despite implementing best practices and meeting the incentive-based goals of USDA conservation programs designed to benefit the environment and producers alike, specialty crop producers are often prevented from participating in such programs because of outdated limitations set years ago,” said Rep. Rouzer. “I’m pleased to join my friend and colleague, Congressman Panetta, in leading this effort to ensure our farm families can continue to produce the world’s most abundant and affordable food supply.”

“Agricultural producers are on the frontlines of our conservation efforts, yet too often are unable to access federal programs designed to assist their work as good stewards of our environment,” said Rep. Panetta. “I’m proud to author and introduce this bipartisan legislation that would waive certain limitations to expand the reach and effectiveness of these agriculture conservation programs. By empowering our farmers with the conservation support they need, we can better safeguard the bounty that they help provide our country.”

“Efforts like the GATES Act will help increase participation in conservation programs while keeping federal funding associated with these programs directed at those who are on the ground working in and improving our agricultural communities,” said Rep. Duarte. “The GATES Act is especially impactful for California because the existing Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitation of $900,000 for certain conservation programs disqualifies many hardworking farmers in the state due to their production of high value agricultural products.”

“We’re going to have to work together to preserve Colorado for generations to come,” said Rep. Caraveo. “Part of that means ensuring our farmers can access the conservation programs that are designed to help them do their part. I’m glad to join in introducing the bipartisan GATES Act to support our farmers and producers and help secure the future of Colorado.”

“Climate change is making it more difficult to farm and put food on America’s table. We need to ensure agricultural producers have access to conservation programs to improve agricultural productivity,” said Rep. Costa. “I’m proud to co-lead this bill to support producers in sustainable resource management while improving operations on their farms.”

“Our nation was built by farmers, and North Carolina’s 11th district is home to many family farms. I’m leading the Growing Access to Environmental Sustainability (GATES) Act to help our WNC farmers protect the land they’ve spent their lives cultivating and protecting,” said Rep. Edwards. “The GATES Act will also help farmers conserve and steward their land for future generations, and I’m glad to support this legislation that opens up more opportunities for producers.”

“Being the grass seed capital of the world, Oregon will benefit tremendously from reduced barriers to participation in conservation programs,” said Rep. Chavez-DeRemer. “Farmers who make their livelihoods in the agriculture industry are buried by high input costs, and we should be making it easier for them to access programs that can make a real difference as they battle inflation. I’m proud to co-lead the GATES Act to help our farmers put food on America’s tables and keep our environment clean.”

Specifically, the GATES Act would:

• Exempt the AGI limitation for farms that get 75% of their income from farming or related farming practices (agri-tourism, direct-to-consumer marketing of agricultural products, sale of agricultural equipment owned by person or entity, and other agriculture-related activities, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture).

• This would apply to the following conservation programs:

o Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

o Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

o Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)


David Rouzer proudly represents North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District, stretching from the beautiful coastline of Southeastern North Carolina west to the small-town, agricultural communities around Lumberton and Fayetteville. Elected to the United States Congress in 2014, David is beginning his 5th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.


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