The Farm Bill in Action

 

The Farm Bill provides $6 billion in conservation funding annually to improve habitat, access, and soil and water quality on private lands across the U.S. Explore our model farm to learn how each conservation program benefits landowners, wildlife, and sportsmen and women. Click a yellow beacon to get started.

Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program

Helps states work with landowners to enhance public access and improve wildlife habitat for hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities, such as hiking and birdwatching. More access for this hunter could mean that she keeps buying licenses year after year, which supports conservation.

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Conservation Reserve Program

Provides incentives for farmers and ranchers to take marginal croplands out of production for a period of ten to fifteen years to benefit soil health, water quality, and habitat. In the West, CRP is helping landowners to voluntarily restore and supplement sage grouse habitat, providing a much-needed boost to a species in decline.

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Conservation Reserve Program

Functions as our nation’s most effective private land conservation tool offering American farmers, ranchers, and landowners incentives to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and create wildlife habitat through a host of conservation practices. CRP acres make up a vital share of the nesting habitat for more than half of North America’s waterfowl.

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Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program

Property ownership patterns are changing, and it may not be as easy as it once was to gain access by personally asking permission on the front porch. VPA-HIP is the only federal program aimed at opening recreation access to private land, and many states also use funding to make walk-in access areas easy to find online.

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Stewardship Contracting Authority

Allows the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to enter into agreements with state and local agencies and non-governmental groups and individuals to improve the health of federal forests and lands, and provide sustainable sources of income for local communities. With increased resiliency to insects, disease, floods, and fires, forests can provide better habitat for deer, birds, and other critters that sportsmen care about.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Provides funding and assistance for producers and landowners to plan, install, or maintain practices that promote agricultural production while enhancing water quality, improving wildlife habitat, or reducing soil erosion and sedimentation. One of the most popular EQIP incentives helps farmers plant cover crops that provide wildlife with food and safety from predators.

Regional Conservation and Partnership Program

Coordinates federal conservation activities with state and local agencies, conservation groups, and private landowners to address on-farm and watershed- and region-wide natural resource concerns. Projects could enhance irrigation practices, strengthen riverbanks, or improve stream flows, for example.

Agriculture Conservation Easements Program

Provides landowners with financing and technical assistance necessary to carry out the long-term restoration, protection, and enhancement of wetlands and forests, while protecting agricultural lands from subdivision and development. Wetlands like this one help to filter farm runoff so it doesn’t reach our best trout streams and waterfowl habitat.

Healthy Forest Reserve Program

Helps landowners restore and protect private forestland through easements and financial assistance. It also aids in the recovery of endangered and threatened species, improves plant and animal biodiversity, and enhances carbon sequestration.

 

Why Does The Farm Bill Matter?

Hunters and anglers should care about the Farm Bill, not only because it represents one of the largest federal investments in habitat and access, but also because more than 70 percent of the country is made up of private lands..

Congress passed a five-year bill in 2018 with increased support for conservation, and it’s up to all of us to see that these programs are implemented and administered to maximize the benefits for our natural resources and rural economies. If you are a landowner interested in enrolling your acres in conservation, click here to find resources for your state.

 

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