Survey: Bipartisan Voters Support Maintaining Robust Conservation Program Investments in Farm Bill

Proposals to shift or cut funding for other ag-related programs overwhelmingly rejected

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 25, 2023 

Washington, D.C.: A series of voter surveys commissioned by ACC Action, Audubon Action Fund and Centerline Action across six states indicate broad, bipartisan support for maintaining funding for conservation and climate-smart agriculture programs in the Farm Bill. 

“Republicans and Democrats are looking to Congress for action when it comes to protecting and advancing solutions that curb carbon emissions. This survey makes clear that voters see the Farm Bill as a powerful vehicle for advancing commonsense conservation investments that will maintain and improve the quality of our land, water and wildlife,” said Centerline Board President James Dozier

“Across the country, Americans understand the value of a robust Farm Bill to support farmers and rural development, as well as environmental protection. These new polling results show that this is especially true in the agricultural states and rural communities that will benefit most from increased conservation and climate funding. At ACC Action, we’re proud to be a strong voice for continued investment in our nation’s original conservationists,” said Christopher Barnard, President of the American Conservation Coalition Action. 

“There aren’t many climate solutions that have broader support from voters than the work America’s farmers and ranchers are doing voluntarily on their land and this survey overwhelming validates this support. Congress should be doubling down on its investments in helping farmers protect their yields and the environment, and the upcoming Farm Bill is a great opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to show bipartisan support for their stewardship.” said Andrew Mills, Executive Director of the National Audubon Society Action Fund. 

The poll, which was conducted by Meeting Street Insights and New Bridge Strategy fielded surveys in key states and Congressional Districts to gauge voter opinion on the Farm Bill. Surveys were completed statewide in Indiana, statewide in Iowa, statewide in South Dakota, in Iowa’s 1st, 3rd, 4th Congressional Districts, in New York’s 19th and 23rd Congressional Districts, in Indiana’s 4th Congressional District, and in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District. 

Specifically, the surveys found that: 

  • Across every state and district that was surveyed, Democratic, Republican, and rural voters overwhelming want Congress to keep funding conservation incentives at current levels ($19.5B). The general electorate is three times as likely to say Congress should keep funding at last year’s $19.5 billion than to favor cutting it. 
  • Republicans are more than twice as likely to support keeping funding at last year’s $19.5 billion than to want to cut it. 
  • Rural voters support keeping the funding at $19.5 billion by margins of at least two-to-one. 
  • More than four-in-five voters say they support incentives and programs to conserve agricultural land; majorities strongly support these programs. 
  • Republicans are also overwhelmingly in favor of these programs, with more than three-quarters in each state and district expressing support. 
  • Forest management is popular as well, as around half of voters in these states and districts strongly support the programs with total support in the mid-80s. 
  • More than seven-in-ten voters support incentives for farmers to adopt climate-smart farming practices. 

The surveys also come in conjunction with recent ad campaigns sponsored by ACC Action and Audubon Action. In Arkansas, Indiana, North Dakota, and South Dakota ACC Action is raising support for USDA Conservation Programs in the Farm Bill. The campaign, which brought attention to the limited availability of these programs and encouraged voters to take action, resulted in more than 26,000 registered voters sending letters to their elected representatives. Audubon Action is also conducting a digital ad campaign, entitled Generations: Let Farmers Safeguard Our Future, which has resulted in more than 6,000 letters sent to Member offices on Capitol Hill to date. 

Survey Methodology 

The Indiana and Iowa surveys were each conducted among 500 registered voters and have margins of error of ±4.36%. The South Dakota survey was conducted among 400 registered voters and has a margin of error of ±4.9%. The Congressional District surveys were each conducted among 300 registered voters and have margins of error of ±5.66%. Interviews were completed by both live-interviewer telephone calls and text-to-web interviews. Quotas were set to ensure a representative sample by region and demographics including age and gender. 

The American Conservation Coalition Action (ACC Action) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization dedicated to building and mobilizing the conservative environmental movement. 

Audubon Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that builds bipartisan support for common-sense solutions to the greatest conservation challenges facing birds, people, and the places we need. Working with the National Audubon Society and its network of state offices and local chapters we advocate for change at the local, state, and national level. This work is grounded in and informed by science and Audubon’s core values that demand our work advance equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Centerline Action is a nonprofit focused on forging consensus to advance centrist policy solutions capable of defending core constitutional freedoms and liberties, preserving a free market economy, and limiting the role of government in Americans’ everyday lives.