Senate Passes 2014 Farm Bill
WASHINGTON – Monday, the U.S. Senate passed the 2014 Farm Bill with a decisive vote of 68-32, sending it to the president’s desk. “This bill includes proactive and common sense conservation programs that will help deter wetland and other habitat loss, incentivize habitat conservation and keep working farmers and ranchers on their land,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “DU is thankful to Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran for never losing sight of these end goals. This farm bill is the best for conservation that we’ve seen in many years, and that is due in large part to our conservation champion, Chairwoman Stabenow.” The 2014 Farm Bill includes the conservation and sporting community’s top priorities of re-coupling conservation compliance to crop insurance and a Sodsaver program affecting the top duck producing states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Wetlands benefit humans and wildlife by ensuring clean drinking water, lessening the impact of floods, maintaining vital habitats for wildlife and keeping working farms and ranches productive by remediating runoff. Due in part to the unintended consequences of current agriculture policy and advanced technology, the United States has lost more than 70 percent of the nation’s native grasslands and 50 percent of its wetlands. Conservation provisions included in the 2014 Farm Bill are designed to encourage the conservation of our nation’s remaining wetlands and grasslands, which help keep our waters clean, prevent soil erosion and provide vital habitat for wildlife. “The new Farm Bill addresses key sportsmen’s priorities, including re-linking conservation compliance with the federal crop insurance program, implementing a Sodsaver provision aimed at conserving intact prairie grasslands, continuing the Conservation Reserve Program, and expanding incentives for sportsmen’s access on private lands,” said Steve Kline, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership director of government relations. “The commitment and strong advocacy by key House and Senate leaders should be applauded by sportsmen around the country. “Over the past two-plus years that Congress has been debating its reauthorization, the 2008 Farm Bill has expired, been extended and expired again,” stated Kline. “At long last, however, this conservation-minded bill appears to be close to completion. The significance of this victory for sportsmen, fish and wildlife, and the nation’s outdoors-focused economy cannot be overstated.” “The condition and ability to properly manage our national forests has also been a primary concern of the Club,” said William Demmer, Boone and Crockett Club president. “In the new Farm Bill, the Club supported the addition of the Healthy Forest Reserve Program to be a participating program of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The Club also successively supported permanently reauthorizing Stewardship Contract Authority, enlarging the reach of the existing Healthy Forests Restoration Act to address insect infestations, and extending to all 50 states the Good Neighbor Authority to delegate certain forest health projects to state foresters.” With over 74 percent of the land in the U.S. in private ownership, Boone and Crockett believes that conservation of private lands is paramount to clean air and water, a thriving and healthy environment and economy.