Arkansas Farmers Call on Congress to Protect $20 Billion in Essential Conservation Funding


Proposed rollbacks in the next Farm Bill threaten farmers and Arkansas’s largest industry. 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas farmers are raising their voices to urge Congress to protect $20 billion of conservation funding from cuts in the next Farm Bill. This funding is already flowing directly into our nation’s heartland — including nearly $724 million to Arkansas alone — providing farmers with the tools they need to solve today’s problems and position their farms and our economy to thrive for generations to come. Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, contributing $16 billion to the state’s economy annually.

Brandon Cain, a corn and soybean farmer in White County’s Griffithville, speaks of the year-round soil challenges his farm faces.

“We’re trying as hard as we can, but it’s a really tough piece of ground,” Cain said. “This year we got accepted on an Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contract, and we’re going to build a reservoir and a tailwater recovery pit. We’ll be able to recirculate every drop of water that comes off of the farm, and I’ll be expecting to save probably two-thirds on my irrigation costs. These are projects I wouldn’t be able to do without the conservation funding. It’s good for the farm and good for the environment.”

P.J. Haynie and his family grow rice, soybeans and other crops across multiple counties in the Delta. He says conservation funding is critical to the sustainability of farming operations like his family’s.

“Farmers are the heartbeat of rural America,” said Haynie. “This funding makes sure we live in one of the most safe and abundant, food-secure nations in the world. Nutrient management, water management, cover crops – these programs allow farmers to help offset risks and be more profitable.”

Washington County’s Jared and Lindi Phillips own Branch Mountain Farm, a 60-head sheep operation in Lincoln. As relatively new farmers, they say conservation funding remains vital to their success.

“If it weren’t for programs geared for new and beginning farmers, we couldn’t have done a lot of the things we did when we got started,” said Lindi. “The USDA program was really crucial. We started to understand the power of rotational grazing. It was 20% to 30% more productive as far as hay is concerned. Our input costs have radically gone down because we’re a largely grass-fed operation,” added Jared.

Members of the Arkansas farming community — including P.J. Haynie; Brandon Cain; the Phillipses and others — are participating in a campaign to raise awareness of these critical funds, in partnership with Invest in Our Land. This campaign will run across a variety of channels in the state, including online, TV, print and out-of-home placements.

In addition to its work in Arkansas, Invest in Our Land is elevating the voices of farmers and ranchers from 10 states across the nation as they call on Congress to protect the investment made in 2022 to help farmers adopt tried-and-tested conservation practices that will help boost their businesses and strengthen their farms for the long haul.

Congress is considering rolling back these investments in the Farm Bill, potentially putting these crucial tools out of reach for countless farmers who want to put them to good use on the ground. That’s why Invest in Our Land and Arkansas farmers are calling on fellow Americans to join the conversation and raise their concerns.

To save this historic investment in the future of agriculture in Arkansas and across the U.S., it’s important that everyone understands the stakes. Learn more at


Invest in Our Land is an organization that elevates the voices of farmers across the country to educate their fellow Americans about the importance of safeguarding the future of U.S. farms. In 2024, Invest in Our Land is highlighting the success stories of farmers and ranchers in 10 states to raise awareness of the need to protect Congress’ historic $20 billion investment in conservation funding. These desperately needed funds are already providing farmers with the tools they need to solve today’s problems and position their farms to thrive for generations to come, and Invest in Our Land is lifting up voices from across our nation’s heartland to tell their stories. Learn more at