DU in DC: Farm Bill Update – Sodsaver under attack!
Farm Bill conferees announced recently that they had cleared the way for the Farm Bill – having resolved many of the unresolved differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
Unfortunately, in resolving those differences, they did so by making cuts to conservation and severely undermining the Ducks Unlimited-supported Sodsaver provision that would discourage the destruction of native prairie, some of the best waterfowl breeding ground in the world.
The new “compromise” would allow North Dakota and Montana to “opt-out” of the provision, meaning that landowners in those states could still be federally subsidized for destroying native prairie. This is especially discouraging because there have already been tremendous losses in those states – Montana has lost more than 26,000 acres since 2005 and North Dakota has lost more than 144,000 since 2002.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that there is a decrease of 25,000 ducks in the fall flight for every 1% of native prairie lost – and the US has lost more than 70% of its original native prairie. Of the 22 million acres of native prairie remaining, only 1% of that is protected in perpetuity.
Ducks Unlimited members and supporters have been critical in reaching out to Prairie Pothole Region Members of Congress to make sure that they know the importance of native prairie to them and to the ducks.