Farm Bill gets wave of support from outdoor community

All manners of wildlife, including upland birds such as the Greater sage grouse, will benefit from the Sodsaver provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill. The conservation-minded bill protects and conserves intact prairie systems.

The 2014 Farm Bill aims to protect native and existing prairie systems by preventing the destruction of native cover, as shown above.

Sportsmen and conservation groups across the board have expressed strong, albeit at times guarded, support for the 2014 Farm Bill.

The long-awaited five-year legislation, passed 68-32 by the Senate on Feb. 4, has been described as “a huge victory for wildlife” that includes bipartisan “proactive and common sense conservation programs” to conserve wildlife, wildlife habitat and also help keep farmers and ranchers on the land.

The only disappointment voiced has been that the legislation includes a significant cut in conservation program funding along with provisions that weaken wetland protections.

Also, the final bill included a regional, rather than a national, Sodsaver provision to protect native grasslands.

All said, however, there has been widespread support, as seen in the summary of quotes below from several national groups.

Becky Humphries, executive vice president, National Wild Turkey Federation: “We are extremely pleased with the Conservation Title in this Farm Bill. We applaud the work of (Senate Agriculture Committee) chairwoman (Debbie) Stabenow (D-Mich.) and (House Agriculture Committee) chairman (Frank) Lucas (R-Okla.) to write and pass a farm bill that is simpler, more streamlined, but provides key provisions for good conservation.”

Steve Kline, Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership: “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.”

“The significance of this victory for sportsmen, fish and wildlife, and the nation’s outdoors-focused economy cannot be overstated.”

Dale Hall, CEO, Ducks Unlimited: “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. This farm bill is the best for conservation that we’ve seen in many years.”

Larry Schweiger, president and CEO, National Wildlife Federation:

“With so many competing interests, it is a huge victory for wildlife that the conservation of our nation’s natural resources was prioritized and included in the final bill. By re-linking conservation compliance to crop insurance, funding key conservation programs, and including a Sodsaver provision in key states to protect grasslands, this bill will help wildlife from across our prairies to our oceans.

“We are especially pleased that this bill includes a provision requiring those receiving crop insurance subsidies to control soil erosion and refrain from draining wetlands.”

Other provisions in the 2014 Farm bill include dedicated funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program; creating mandatory funding for voluntary hunter access program, such as the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentives Program, which will receive $40 million of guaranteed funding; and enhancing forestry provisions that strengthen forest management across the United States.


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Kudos to the Sentinel for Dave Buchanan’s informative report:  “Farm Bill gets wave of support from outdoor community”.

In addition to ameliorating the draconian cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (“Food Stamps”) sought by “Teapublicans” (including our own Scott Tipton), H.R. 2642 – the five-year $956 billion “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2014” (renamed the “Agricultural Act of 2014”) – funded multiple worthwhile “conservation” programs (while cutting overall appropriations therefor). 

However, as Buchanan’s opening reference to “guarded support” – and the Sentinel’s editorial opinion—“Farm Bill yields mixed bag of reform”(January 30, 2014)—suggest,
the 2014 Farm Bill aptly illustrates the costs taxpayers must bear for sound policies when disingenuous “conservatives” extort enactment of bad policies as the price for their votes.

Thus, first, while the 2014 Farm Bill ends the “direct” subsidy program (under which Congressmen receiving payments were required to disclose them), it substituted an even more expensive “indirect” subsidy program (payments from which Congressmen are not required to disclose, thanks to Tipton and his cronies on the House Ag Committee).

Second, with “fraud, waste, and abuse” more rampant in farm subsidy programs than in any other federal “entitlement” program – and with median household income in the U.S. at $51,000 – the law now authorizes subsidy payments to corporate farms and millionaire farmers earning up to $900,000 (after deducting all expenses incurred in “farming”).

Third, H.R. 2642 also protects Republicans’ favored groups (only) from the vagaries of the venerated “free market”—by creating an insurance program to protect farmers against price fluctuations, while guaranteeing insurers a 16% profit.
Fourth, in order to continue gratuitous and legally dubious subsidies to water-wasting cotton farmers, we will continue to annually pay Brazil $147.3 million – bribing Brazil
to suspend its illegal agricultural subsidies case before the World Trade Organization.


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