Take Action for a Water & Climate-Friendly Farm Bill

Passed only once every five years, the federal Farm Bill is a package of legislation that has far-reaching impacts on the way food is grown, and the health of our communities and our waterways. Through the Farm Bill’s conservation programs, the USDA works with farmers to plan and install voluntary conservation practices that protect water quality by reducing the flow of excess nutrients and sediment from agricultural lands into rivers and streams that feed into the Bay. 

Your voice is needed to assure that Farm Bill programs that support sustainable farming practices are funded, and that those programs are structured well. If we don’t act now, then it will be 5 years until the next opportunity. Below is some proposed legislation and three ways for you to make your voice heard.

1) Join us on Capitol Hill to advocate for a better Farm Bill! You do not have to be an expert to voice your opinion to representatives and senators! Most important is to bring your passion and speak authentically about why this matters to you. We will provide you with the training/guidance you need to be an effective citizen lobbyist. For questions or to RSVP contact WKC’s Agriculture Policy Specialist Devora Kimelman-Block at devora@waterkeeperschesapeake.org.

  • Sept. 18th. 9:00-4:00 – In-Person Training in Washington, DC 
  • Sept. 19th and the morning of Sept. 20th – Meetings with US Legislators 

2) Can’t make it on Sept. 18th and 19th? Join us in direct action via phone calls to US Legislators.

  • Sept 13th 7pm – Virtual Training

For questions or to RSVP: devora@waterkeeperschesapeake.org.

3) Endorse bills using the links following the bills below (when available).

BILLS TO ADVOCATE FOR (and links to endorse them when available):

Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) Improvement Act: to bring crop insurance options to small-scale, beginning, specialty crop, and other farmers who have been left out of traditional crop insurance programs. The Bill will remove historic barriers to access crop insurance with streamlined paperwork requirements and incentives for agents who sell to underserved producers. All farmers deserve the opportunity to enroll in a safety net to protect against unforeseen risk, but most small, beginning, specialty crop, and diversified farmers are unable to enroll in the federal crop insurance program.

Contact your legislators to support the WFRP Act

Agriculture Resiliency Act (ARA): to increase investment in agricultural research, improving soil health, supporting the transition to pasture-based livestock, ensuring farmland preservation and viability, promoting on-farm renewable energy, and reducing food waste. To invest in climate-friendly agricultural systems like advanced grazing management, agroforestry, organic agriculture, improved manure management, soil health, composting, user-friendly on-farm renewable energy, and other practices that sequester carbon. 

Converting Our Waste Sustainably (COWS) Act: to establish a new federal manure management conservation program that reduces methane emissions while improving the economic viability of small and medium-sized dairies and providing an alternative to anaerobic digesters. The program proposed in the COWS Act is modeled on a successful and very popular incentive program that started in California in 2017, the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP). Since then, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded 147 dairies a total of $88 million for equipment that reduces methane emissions. The COWS Act would extend these voluntary incentives to dairy producers across the country. 

Sign on to support the COWS Act

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is one of the most impactful national conservation programs. Producers are rewarded not only for addressing locally-determined priority resource concerns and implementing new and more advanced conservation activities, but also for actively managing and maintaining existing stewardship practices. This comprehensive approach allows CSP to increase the long-term sustainability of agricultural operations, while also enhancing soil health, protecting natural resources, and helping farms and ranches build resilience to the impacts of climate disruption while becoming part of the climate solution through carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation.

CSP has grown in popularity with farmers over the life of the 2018 Farm Bill. In 2020, over 27,000 farmers applied to CSP. This rose to over 32,000 farmers applying to CSP in 2022. As interest in the program has grown, funding has proven insufficient to meet demand. During recent years, only 18-25% of farmers seeking to implement conservation through CSP have been able to enter the program.

Sign on to ensure robust funding for the CSP

Fair Credit for Farmers Act: to improve access and accountability in the FSA loan application and appeals process. The Fair Credit for Farmers Act seeks a fundamental shift in the dynamic between farmers and FSA, to a relationship where farmers have protections and can be co-equal partners with FSA staff in seeking farm success. 

Take action to support farmers’ fair and equitable access to ag credit and the Fair Credit for Farmers Act 

Farmer to Farmer Education Act: to leverage existing technical assistance resources to support farmer-led conservation education networks. According to a recent survey from the American Farmland Trust, more than half of farmers surveyed said they learned about conservation practices directly from other farmers. Providing farmers the tools to adopt conservation practices is essential in the face of climate change. Learning from someone you trust with first-hand experience about the benefits and challenges of adopting these practices can increase the likelihood of farmers trying these practices out.

Contact your legislators to support the Farmer-to-Farmer Education Act.

Strengthening Local Processing Act: to build more resilient regional food systems by increasing livestock processing options for local livestock and poultry producers and helping consumers access locally raised meat & poultry.


Close to home and significant for our local waterways and the Bay is the Chesapeake Bay Conservation Acceleration Act of 2023 bipartisan marker bill as a part of the Farm Bill. The Act includes the following:

  • Authorization of the Chesapeake Bay States’ Partnership Initiative (C-SPI)
  • Expanding Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Participation
  • Creating a Chesapeake Bay Watershed Turnkey Pilot Program
  • Reforms for Chesapeake Bay Watershed Workforce Development
  • FDA Inspection of Invasive Blue Catfish


The EATS Act. This bill is modeled after the highly controversial “King amendment” that was pushed by former Representative Steve King but was fortunately kept out of the final 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills.  Like the King amendment, the EATS Act is a federal power grab that could jeopardize hundreds of state and local laws addressing a wide range of issues including animal welfare, sustainable farming, food safety, public health, environmental protection, labor standards and more. Here’s a current list of opponents of the EATS Act who have signed on to this letter

To oppose the EATS Act sign onto this petition.