AF&PA Farm Bill Priorities
Forests are essential to a healthy environment and are an economic resource, providing a renewable natural material from which the paper and wood products industry responsibly produces renewable and recyclable products.
History and science demonstrate that an efficient forest products industry is complementary to a healthy environment. AF&PA members strongly support and encourage the use of forestry best management practices. AF&PA members adhere to sustainable forestry and fiber procurement principles which assure that wood is received from suppliers committed to sustainable practices, management and harvesting.
AF&PA Farm Bill Priorities:
Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA):
FIA provides essential forest data upon which the forest products industry and other stakeholders rely, including mill managers, land managers, conservation groups, and State and Federal agencies. FIA is a vital technical resource that allows assessment of the sustainability, health and availability of the forest resource. With increased pressure on our nation’s forests, understanding the forest resource is vital to forest sustainability. We urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service to fully implement the FIA program, and ask that the Forest Service be directed to incorporate remote sensing technologies, when appropriate, and implement a nationwide sample-based assessment design, with annual reporting of results for the Timber Products Output Program.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP):
AF&PA supports the reauthorization of the CRP, which has led to reforestation of over three million acres of marginal agricultural land, benefitting rural communities and improving wildlife habitat and forest sustainability. Forest components of the program can be strengthened by enhancing opportunities for all types of tree plantings, including row plantings, and by better utilization of mid-contract management authorities to ensure the benefits of forests continue throughout the contract life. Limiting re-enrollment of CRP tree practices only for contracts which have been completed and continued funding for incentives for management of existing pine stands, including thinning and prescribed burning, are important measures to ensure additional forest growth.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP):
AF&PA advocates for the reauthorization of EQUIP and maintaining funding for the forestry component of the program. We urge the USDA to direct funding to be earmarked for forestry technical assistance programs that will improve participation in the program and increase impacts on the ground.
State Forest Action Plans:
AF&PA is in favor of the requirement of 10 year updates of the State Forest Action Plans and establishing funding authorization to assist state agencies and their partners with the plan updates. State Forest Action Plans are essential documents that assist States as well as industry in planning for the use and sustainability of our nation’s forests.
Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program:
AF&PA believes the reauthorization of this program is vital. It helps build and preserve critical plant health initiatives, helping to protect forests and mitigate invasive species damage. In reauthorizing this program, Congress should urge the agencies to evaluate the plant health safeguards under these programs to ensure their continued effectiveness.
Renewable Energy Programs:
AF&PA strongly believes that government should not pick winners and losers in the marketplace. AF&PA opposes mandates and incentives that seek to direct the flow of biomass to specific uses because these inevitably distort markets. When governments take action to encourage new renewable energy production, they should treat all biomass users equally to avoid unintended harm to jobs, existing renewable energy production, and the economy.