Farm Bill Plays Well Among Conservation Groups

Not surprisingly, the Farm Bill passed this morning by the U.S. House of Representatives is playing well with conservation groups across the country because of its provisions aimed at protecting soil and water resources.

The House passed the bill with a bipartisan vote of 251-166.

Among the bill’s conservation provisions are measures to re-couple conservation compliance to crop insurance and a Sodsaver program affecting top duck-producing states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Here’s a look at some of the reactions from the conservation community:

Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited

Dale Hall

“This is a big win for conservation and for working farmers and ranchers. The conservation programs authorized and funded through the farm bill are the backbone of Ducks Unlimited conservation work on private lands, and they have just been strengthened by the inclusion of our top priorities.”

Bridgit Collins, agricultural policy coordinator
for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

“The Farm Bill the House has passed today wisely includes the re-linkage of commonsense conservation compliance with federal crop insurance premium assistance. This provision will go a long way toward making sure the American taxpayer isn’t providing an incentive for wetland drainage and soil erosion. The compliance language that is included is the product of a groundbreaking effort between conservation groups, commodity organizations and the crop insurance industry. As a result of that collaboration, the policy is workable and pragmatic, and both conservation and agriculture will be stronger for it,” Collins continued.

Dave Nomsen, vice president of governmental
affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever

Dave Nomsen, vice president of governmental affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. (Pheasants Forever photo)

“Over the past few years, high crop prices and high land values have pushed crop production onto every available acre, including some of our last, best, prairie habitat. This habitat is essential for upland birds and waterfowl; fortunately, the Farm Bill the House passed today does include a strong Sodsaver policy, and while the provision is limited to six states, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, it represents a compromise that will help save native prairie in the states where it is most threatened.

“Conservation compliance and Sodsaver aren’t just good policy for natural resources; they are good policy for the American taxpayer. Taken together, the two provisions will save the American taxpayers millions of dollars.

“Now that the House has completed work on the Farm Bill, the Senate must take the bill up as soon as possible and send a bill to the president’s desk,” said Nomsen. “We cannot afford any more delays or false starts. Rural America, hunters, anglers, landowners – everyone needs this Farm Bill completed.”

Steve Kline, director of government relations
or the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

“While the Conservation Reserve Program has lost some acreage in this Farm Bill, those reductions reflect the current demand for the program on the ground. The bill does include 2 million acres of CRP dedicated for the enrollment of grasslands, something beneficial that has not been included in the past.”