“America the Beautiful” Report Released by Biden Administration
The Biden Administration has released the “Conserving and Restoring America The Beautiful” report, detailing efforts to conserve and restore the nation’s lands, waters, and wildlife. The report outlines locally-led and voluntary nationwide conservation and sustainability goals that align with President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. The report was a group effort created by the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
“President Biden has challenged all of us as Americans to join together in pursuit of a goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030,” the report states. “The ambition of this goal reflects the urgency of the challenges we face: the need to do more to safeguard the drinking water, clean air, food supplies, and wildlife upon which we all depend; the need to fight climate change with the natural solutions that our forests, agricultural lands, and the ocean provide; and the need to give every child in America the chance to experience the wonders of nature.”
The report is a 10-year roadmap and recognizes 6 priority areas for the administration’s early focus, investments, and collaboration. One of the 6 areas focuses on agricultural producers and contributes the following recommendations:
- Incentivize voluntary conservation efforts and provide new sources of income for American farmers, ranchers, and foresters
- Improve the effectiveness of relevant USDA conservation programs through the 2023 Farm Bill
- Support the voluntary conservation efforts of private landowners
- Leverage public-private partnerships and voluntary measures to improve targeted populations of wildlife
- Create jobs in rural America that support science-driven stewardship and conservation efforts
The 30X30 Plan has received backlash, with some conservative groups calling it the “30X30 Land Grab”, but the report specifically notes that “Efforts to conserve and restore America’s lands and waters must respect the rights of private property owners. Such efforts must also build trust among all communities and stakeholders, including by recognizing and rewarding the voluntary conservation efforts of private landowners.” U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack said when speaking before the North American Agricultural Journalists annual meeting, “I can assure you this: There’s no intention to have a land grab. There’s no intention to take something away from folks.”
There have also been rumors that the Biden Administration is trying to reduce American’s meat intake by 90% in the 30X30 plan. The false narrative was supported by conservative leaders, such as Governor Greg Abbott of Texas and Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado. Vilsack reassured reporters during the North American Agricultural Journalists annual meeting that "there is no effort designed to limit people's intake of beef coming out of President Biden's White House or USDA."
The “America The Beautiful” report has been supported by various agricultural groups, although there is agreement that the report lacks details. “The report is a philosophical document that emphasizes important principles such as incentive-based voluntary conservation, protecting personal and property rights and continued ranching on public lands, but it lacks specifics,” stated American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall. “AFBF appreciates that the report acknowledges concerns we have raised and recognizes the oversized contributions of farmers and ranchers to conservation while feeding the world. That recognition must carry through implementation.” Kaitlynn Glover, The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) Executive Director of Natural Resources and Public Lands Council (PLC) Executive Director said, "Over the next decade, livestock producers will continue doing what they've done for generations, manage their lands in a way that promotes conservation and good environmental outcomes, and share that expertise with federal agencies. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the administration to make sure that the agencies implementing 30x30 leverage the expertise of our producers and reward them for their good work on the ground."