Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
On Biden’s Reckless Conservation Plans
Thursday, August 5, 2021

 
On January 27th of this year, the Biden administration put out a wide-ranging Executive Order on tackling climate change.
 
Tucked in the executive order was a line directing the Secretaries of Agriculture, Interior, and Commerce to develop a plan to conserve at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.
 
This plan is commonly referred to as 30 by 30.
 
To reach the Biden administration’s goal of 30 percent of land in conservation by 2030, the federal government will have significant work ahead of them.
 
30 percent of the land would mean that we’ll need 440 million additional acres in permanent conservation.
 
To put 440 million acres of land into perspective, it is the equivalent of taking the state of Iowa and putting all of our land into permanent conservation. Then, repeating that eleven more times to reach the Biden administration’s goal of 30 percent of land in conservation by 2030.
 
This is not an attempt at conservation, it’s an attempt at confiscation.
 
Between the 30 by 30 land grab, and the WOTUS rewrite, it is clear that the Biden administration simply does not understand rural America.
 
If they did understand, then they would realize that farmers are the first and best conservationists.
 
If the United States decides to go forward with the 30 by 30 plan, we already know what will happen.
 
This rhetoric empowers our nation’s corn and soybean competitors to increase their output.
 
Take Brazil. This week their House of Representatives advanced a bill that President Bolsonaro supports that allows squatters on public land in the Amazon Rain Forest to more easily receive deeds to their properties.
 
This allows the squatters to burn the forest to plant corn and soybeans.
 
Brazil has already plowed under more than half of the Cerrado, which is tropical savanna.
 
The Cerrado is a vital storehouse for carbon dioxide that has been disappearing at a rate four times faster than the Amazon rainforest.
 
If we tie the hands of American farmers, our competitors like Brazil will continue to meet the needs of a growing, hungry world.
 
And by 2050, the world population will grow to nine billion people.
 
The United States should not cede our leadership in production agriculture to other countries that have poor environmental standards.
 
The five-year Farm Bill already does a great job at encouraging farmers and landowners to preserve fragile lands, enhancing environmental benefits for all Americans.
 
These Farm Bill provisions are referred to as working lands programs – Programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
 
These programs provide incentives to help producers adopt management practices on their ground that allows the land to stay in production while improving environmental outcomes.
 
If the Biden administration focused on these programs, my speech today would be praising those efforts.
 
But instead, they have proposals that take productive farmland out of production, placing the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage.
 
These ideas also make it harder for new and beginning farmers to compete on rental rates and gain access to land.
 
Farmers understand how conservation and sustainable agriculture affects productivity and generational prosperity.
 
It’s important for us to leave the land better than we found it for our children and grandchildren.
 
So far the Biden administration has said their 30 by 30 plan focuses on voluntary measures.
 
But to get 440 million additional acres in conservation, you would be foolish to think voluntary measures are going to get you there.
 

Instead of focusing on taking more land out of production agriculture, let’s work on a strategy that allows farmers to continue to farm their land while improving environmental outcomes.