US Senate Passes Farm Bill
Two days ago, the United States Senate passed the Farm Bill with key conservation provisions included. Specifically, the Senate version of the Farm Bill links conservation practices to crop insurance premium subsidies rather than direct payments, as well as a Sodsaver program to conserve native prairies.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) provided leadership on the Senate version of the bill. The Farm Bill moves on to the U.S. House of Representatives, whose version does not contain these important conservation programs.
Conservation compliance is a compact between farmers and taxpayers that states that in return for receiving federal subsidies, farmers should meet some basic eligibility requirements: they must refrain from farming highly erodible soils without a conservation plan or draining wetlands on their property.
This provides an incentive to farmers to conserve critical wildlife habitat. Last month, major agricultural groups like the American Farm Bureau compromised with conservation groups like National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever to support conservation compliance.
A new bill is being proposed in the U.S. House to include conservation compliance in the House version of the Farm Bill. It is c0-sponsored by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), mirroring the bipartisan nature of the Farm Bill’s passage in the Senate.
Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask them to support and co-sponsor the Thompson-Fortenberry Act to include conservation compliance in the House version of the Farm Bill.