Conservation groups generally support House Farm Bill version

So far, so good is the word from conservation groups in response to the U.S. House of Representatives’ version of the Farm Bill.

The House Agriculture Committee completed markup of its version of the bill Wednesday night. The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill last month.

In a news release, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership said this morning that the House Farm Bill calls for $35 billion in cuts over 10 years — $12 billion more than the Senate version — but the conservation title is similar to the Senate bill.

The only downside, according to conservation groups, is that the House didn’t consider an expanded version of the “sodsaver” program. The provision, which promotes management practices that conserve grasslands, is included in the House’s draft of the bill, but is limited in scope to the Prairie Pothole Region, the TRCP said.

“Sportsmen remain committed to making the sodsaver program national in scope,” Dave Nomsen, vice president of government affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, said in a statement. “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.”

Still, the TRCP said, the Farm Bill represents the country’s largest federal investment in ag and private lands conservation. The bill now awaits action by the full House.

“Overall, the House Agriculture Committee-reported Farm Bill is not only good for working farmers and ranchers by helping them stay on their land,” said Dan Wrinn, director of public policy for Ducks Unlimited, “it also provides solid and significant programs and measures necessary to conserve waterfowl and other wildlife habitats — and continues to ensure our nation’s rich hunting heritage, which benefits rural economies. We look forward to continuing to work with the Agriculture Committee leadership as the bill moves to the House floor.”

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

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