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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Senate Agriculture Committee reports farm bill with strong conservation title

Conservation and agriculture agreement on crop insurance included in bill
WASHINGTON – May 14, 2013 – The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee successfully reported a five-year farm bill out of Committee to the Senate floor, with a bipartisan vote of 15-5.

A strong conservation title, with a national Sodsaver provision, was included in the Senate bill. The agreement among leading conservation and agriculture organizations to support the re-coupling of conservation compliance to crop insurance is also an important component in this year’s comprehensive farm bill.

“Re-coupling conservation compliance to crop insurance has been a top priority for Ducks Unlimited and we are extremely appreciative that, under the leadership of Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran, the Senate Agriculture Committee has taken the first big step by including it in their five-year farm bill,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “Most importantly, the agriculture and conservation communities have nurtured a working partnership grounded in our mutual goal of a comprehensive farm bill. I expect to maintain and grow our collaboration in the long-term on behalf of our country’s farmers, ranchers, wildlife and all Americans.” 

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Senate farm bill would save $18 billion over the next 10 years, or $24.4 billion if sequestration were repealed.

More than 70 percent of the nation’s native grasslands and 50 percent of wetlands have already been lost. The rate of loss has been accelerated by unintended consequences of current agriculture policy and advanced technology.

Conservation incentive programs have been in the farm bill for more than 25 years to help deter wetland drainage. Wetlands are not only important wildlife habitat, they also reduce the impacts of floods and purify drinking water. Congress is streamlining the farm bill by eliminating many commodity support programs that are currently linked to conservation compliance and replacing them with crop insurance provisions, potentially opening the door to further wetland drainage and habitat loss. The agreement conservation and agriculture groups announced recently supports the re-coupling of conservation compliance to crop insurance ensures the long-term sustainability of wetland habitats and waterfowl populations.

Organizations that joined Ducks Unlimited in supporting the Senate bill include the American Association of Crop Insurers, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Farmland Trust, American Society of Agronomy, American Soybean Federation, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Audubon, Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau, Crop Contractors of America, Environmental Defense Fund, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Association of State Conservation Agencies, National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, National Conservation District Employees Association, National Council of Farmers Cooperatives, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Farmers Union, National Wildlife Federation, Pheasants Forever, Pollinator Partnership, Quail Forever, Soil and Water Conservation Society, Soil Science Society of America, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, USA Rice Federation, Wildlife Mississippi and World Wildlife Fund.

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.

 Heather Stegner
(202) 347-1530


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