McGraw and the 2018 Farm Bill
Photo by RichardBH/flickr
In the fall of 2016, the McGraw Center for Conservation Leadership brought together 10 conservation experts from government and the private sector to discuss innovations that could be implemented in the 2018 federal Farm Bill.  That task force, joined by a few new members, ultimately produced the  Heartland Waters Initiative , a white paper suggesting ways to embrace emerging technologies and innovative financing to advance conservation.

Over the next two years, the Farm Bill took shape.  The ideas developed at McGraw were brought forward by individual members of the task force and others who read the white paper and saw its potential.

The ultimate legislation, passed this month by Congress and signed Thursday by President Trump, reflects many of those ideas.

Most prominently, the legislation includes a completely new program, the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP), authorized as a pilot of 50,000 acres in the Prairie Pothole states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) introduced SHIPP as a standalone bill after his senior policy advisor, Lynn Tjeerdsma, participated in the Heartland Waters Initiative discussions.