WASHINGTON – May 31, 2012 – Ducks Unlimited supports newly introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at protecting native grasslands at high risk of being converted to cropland. A Sodsaver provision in the 2012 Farm Bill would help slow down the rapid destruction of grassland in landscapes important to DU’s conservation work, such as the Prairie Pothole Region of North and South Dakota.
DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt expressed the organization’s appreciation of Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota for introducing the legislation. “What Representatives Noem and Walz have introduced is more critical today than ever,” Schmidt said. “Having bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for Sodsaver is a win-win for waterfowl, their habitats, other wildlife and people.”
Sodsaver would reduce crop insurance for the first four years for crops grown on native sod and certain grasslands converted to cropland. The Congressional Budget Office says this could save taxpayers nearly $200 million over 10 years.
“It’s just common sense to reduce crop insurance assistance for less productive land that will save taxpayers money and help preserve critical habitat for pheasants, ducks and other game species, which helps support South Dakota’s vibrant hunting industry,” Rep. Noem said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to include this legislation into the House version of the farm bill.”
The Senate farm bill, approved by the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee on April 26, included an identical Sodsaver provision sponsored by Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska. The House and Senate Sodsaver legislation strengthens the momentum for landscape native prairie conservation, which benefits and encourages DU’s waterfowl habitat conservation work.
“On behalf of more than 37,000 DU members in Minnesota, I commend Congressman Tim Walz for his leadership in supporting Sodsaver in the 2012 Farm Bill," said David Flink, DU Minnesota state chair. "DU's priority habitat areas include native prairie in Minnesota and the Dakotas. The Sodsaver addition is an important endeavor, not only for wildlife habitat, but also necessary if we are to retain a grass-based agricultural enterprise for our rural economies.”
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/ducksunlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/ducksunlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/ducksunlimitedinc.