The TRCP continues working to ensure passage of a strong Farm Bill .
The TRCP and its sportsmen partners offered praise to U.S. House of Representatives leaders for expediting passage of the new Farm Bill while, at the same time, continued to advocate conservation measures in the sprawling legislation important to hunters and anglers.
On July 11, the House Agriculture Committee completed markup of its version of a bill that represents the largest federal investment in agricultural and private lands conservation in the nation. The bill now moves on to consideration by the full House.
Steve Kline, director of the TRCP Center for Agricultural and Private Lands, called the conservation title of the House bill “an achievement in the face of daunting economic circumstances.”
Sportsmen voiced criticism, however, that an amendment expanding the so-called “sodsaver” program to the national level was not considered by the committee. While the provision is included in the draft bill, it is limited in scope to the Prairie Pothole region.
Sodsaver promotes management practices that conserve grasslands, an iconic – and threatened – American ecosystem that provides essential habitat and breeding grounds for countless species of North American ducks, as well as pheasants and deer.
“Sportsmen remain committed to making the sodsaver program national in scope,” said Dave Nomsen, vice president of government affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, both TRCP partner groups. “We respectfully urge Congress to adopt this common-sense measure, which would advance conservation of our nation’s remaining grassland habitat, critical to a variety of economically important wildlife.”
Likewise, the sportsmen reiterated the need to re-link conservation compliance with crop insurance, ensuring that taxpayer funds support environmentally friendly farming practices and strengthen the farm safety net by focusing crop production on reliably productive acres.
In its current iteration, the House Farm Bill integrates more than $35 billion in reductions over 10 years – $12 billion more than a version of the bill passed last month by the Senate. The House bill’s conservation title, however, is similar to the Senate version.
The TRCP will continue working to ensure passage of a strong Farm Bill.
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