WASHINGTON – June 6, 2013 – Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (NE) and Mike Thompson (CA) yesterday introduced the Crop Insurance Accountability Act of 2013 to re-couple conservation compliance to crop insurance
Conservation compliance has been included in the farm bill to reduce soil erosion and deter wetland drainage since 1985. It was linked to crop insurance until the 1996 Farm Bill, which retained conservation compliance but de-linked it from crop insurance. The farm bill reported by the House Agriculture Committee consolidates or eliminates many direct payment programs currently requiring compliance and replaces them with crop insurance. The Crop Insurance Accountability Act will ensure these land protections are maintained.
“Farmers and ranchers deserve a safety net against severe weather and natural disasters,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “But it’s just as crucial to make sure that crop insurance isn’t an incentive to destroy wetlands and grasslands that protect drinking water, mitigate the impacts of floods and provide habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. The Crop Insurance Accountability Act ensures the continuation of these basic conservation measures.”
More than 90 percent of agriculture producers already participate in U.S. Department of Agriculture’s voluntary conservation compliance programs. Farmers and ranchers who believe the costs outweigh the benefits of compliance may opt out at any time.
The Senate farm bill included a provision re-coupling conservation compliance to crop insurance, but the farm bill reported out by the House Agriculture Committee did not.
“Congressmen Fortenberry and Thompson are trying to protect our nation’s wetlands and highly erodible lands with this bill,” Hall said. “Ducks Unlimited stands among the many conservation, agriculture and taxpayer protection organizations who appreciate their leadership.”
Ducks Unlimited was joined by the following organizations in support of the bill: American Association of Crop Insurers, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Farmland Trust, American Society of Agronomy, American Soybean Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Audubon, Bull Moose Sportsmen's Alliance, Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau, Crop Science Society of America, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense Fund, Izaak Walton League of America, Land Improvement Contractors of America, National Association of State Conservation Agencies, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, National Conservation District Employees Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Wildlife Federation, Pheasants Forever, Pollinator Partnership, Quail Forever, Soil and Water Conservation Society, Soil Science Society of America, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Mississippi, World Wildlife Fund, R Street Institute, Cost of Government Center, American Commitment, Americans for Tax Reform, Less Government, Center for Individual Freedom and National Taxpayers Union.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 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.