Trying to see ‘30 x 30’ (Editorial)
When President Joe Biden issued a commitment in January to preserve 30 percent of the nation’s land and water by 2030, details on how his administration was going to do that were scant, causing tremendous worry that a federal land grab was afoot.
After a multi-agency report, “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful,” was sent to the National Climate Task Force and made public, the so-called 30 x 30 initiative still lacks concrete details, but a clearer picture could be developing.
The report outlined eight principles intended to guide the initiative, several of which pertain to agriculture.
It indicates that conservation work should collaborate with and include all stakeholders including farmers and recommends that the existing contributions from farms and rural communities be recognized and encouraged.
It also states that private-property rights should be respected and that farming should be maintained on both public and private lands.
“President Biden has recognized and honored the leadership role that farmers, ranchers, forest owners, and fishers already play in the conservation of the nation’s lands, waters, and wildlife, and has made clear that his administration will support voluntary stewardship efforts that are already underway across the country’s lands and waters,” the report said.
The report drew modest applause from agriculture groups who noted signs of their solicited feedback in the principles.
“This is a productive starting point that builds on the input of a diverse array of stakeholders — and moving forward, our focus will be on holding the administration and federal agencies to it,” said Kaitlynn Glover, National Cattlemen’s Beef Associaiton executive director of natural resources and Public Lands Council executive director.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall called the report “a philosophical document that emphasizes important principles such as incentive-based voluntary conservation, protecting personal and property rights and continued ranching on public lands, but it lacks specifics.”
Be sure that as those details are clarified, farm groups will be right there, waiting to pounce on anything that doesn’t stick to the promises made.
According to the National Farmers Union, 44 percent of U.S. land is in agriculture of some type, making it absolutely essential that agriculture is incorporated into any broader conservation endeavors.
With a path to reach the president’s goal still a bit hazy, farmers and the groups that represent them can’t take their eyes off the road.