Following the normal 5-year cycle, the Farm Bill will be reauthorized in 2012. The Congressional committee process for debating the 2012 Farm Bill will begin in the new Congress in 2011. WEF, along with many other water and conservation organizations, wants to assure that water quality concerns are adequately reflected in the 2012 Farm Bill. On December 13, NACWA and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation convened a "Water Quality Opportunities in the 2012 Farm Bill" meeting in Annapolis, MD. A diverse group of 20 water and conservation organizations, including WEF, participated in this meeting to begin considering how best to address agricultural water quality concerns. This coalition will now invite others to participate and continue to meet next year to develop consensus approaches on water quality and the 2012 Farm Bill.
WEF supports promoting opportunities within the agricultural community to implement watershed-based management techniques that improve water quality. During the last Farm Bill debate in 2006, WEF adopted a position statement that encouraged strengthening and targeting USDA conservation programs to achieve water quality in critical watersheds, fostering greater collaboration between the municipal wastewater sector and livestock producers to improve manure management, and establishing more effective tools to achieve nutrient controls on farms. The 2007 Farm Bill did include conservation provisions and programs that supported agricultural operators in improving water quality.