Ahead of the midterm elections and Republicans expected to retake the majority, the House GOP’s Energy, Climate, and Conservation (ECC) Task Force created a six-pillar policy agenda built on the proven success of conservative energy policies—much like those that made the United States the world leader in reducing carbon emissions while increasing productivity in the first place.
The task force held a roundtable discussion (click here to watch or view highlights here) led by Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15)—the Republican Leader of the House Agriculture Committee—at Burk-Lea Farms in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, earlier this month to discuss the third pillar of ECC Task Force’s energy agenda: “Conservation with a Purpose.”
Rep. Thompson was joined by chair of the task force, Rep. Garret Graves (LA-06), as well as Reps. John Joyce (PA-13), David Valadao (CA-21), and John Rose (TN-06). Also participating in the conversation were Clint Burkholder, owner of Burk-Lea Farms, and representatives of the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. Attendees also included local famers, producers, and conservationists from the region.
The roundtable discussion highlighted innovative and emerging farm technologies and methods being used voluntarily to conserve on America’s farms. Rather than imposing mandates and policies broadly leveraged to reach untenable and unquantifiable goals—which often look good on paper without consideration of implementation and compliance—conservation with a purpose means everyone wins.
Broad government mandates are bad for American agriculture, and imposing overarching requirements hurts more than it helps. Agricultural legislation needs to include all regions in partnership, with the freedom to find what works best regionally.
Like all Americans, agricultural producers are feeling the pinch of rising prices and scarce resources. Rep. Valadao noted, “when you produce natural resources whether it’s agricultural products or oil and gas, you are creating economic activity… and if we can meet the surge in agricultural products, or food, if we can meet this growth in energy demand by producing resources right here in America, let’s do it.” Rather than outsourcing agricultural and energy production, we can meet the growing needs with American resources.
Local dairyman David Pool reiterated, “We, as farmers basically control the resources that it takes to solve the problems. We just gotta be let do it. The bureaucracy gets in the way of letting us do what we do best.”
As the original conversationists, farmers want to do not only what is best for the land, but also what is best for the overall environment.
Over this summer, the Energy, Climate and Conservation Task Force will roll out policies in six key issue areas, including: