Fifty farm, forestry, conservation, and environmental associations this week wrote letters to House and Senate agriculture appropriations subcommittee leaders requesting them to fully fund the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (farm bill) conservation programs at the levels Congress mandated in the 2008 statute and to increase conservation technical assistance funding.

“We…urge you to maintain the mandatory spending levels for conservation programs as provided in the 2008 farm bill and to reject the Obama administration’s proposed cuts,” the letters say.

The organizations expressed disappointment that the president’s budget “continues the unfortunate pattern of proposing cuts to conservation programs below mandatory levels established in the farm bill, in this case asking for over $500 million in cuts for FY 2010 plus additional long-term permanent cuts.”

The president’s fiscal year 2010 budget proposes cuts to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, Farmland Protection Program, Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, Agricultural Management Assistance Program, and Healthy Forest Reserve Program.