WASHINGTON – June 10, 2013 – The U.S. Senate today passed a five-year farm bill, including a strong conservation title, with a final bipartisan vote of 66-27.
The 2013 Farm Bill conservation title includes top Ducks Unlimited priorities including a national Sodsaver
program and re-coupling conservation compliance to crop insurance
. Both provisions are designed to encourage the conservation of our nation’s wetlands and grasslands, which help keep our waters clean, prevent soil erosion and provide critical habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.
“A national Sodsaver program and re-coupling conservation compliance to crop insurance are tremendous steps forward in slowing the devastating trend of wetland and grassland habitat loss,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “Our nation is currently experiencing a rate of wetland and native prairie loss not seen since the Dust Bowl. These proactive programs will benefit humans and wildlife by ensuring clean drinking water, lessening the impact of floods, slowing the rate of habitat destruction and keeping working farms and ranches productive.”
A recent South Dakota State University study found that the rates of grassland conversion since 2006 have been comparable to deforestation rates in South America and Asia in the 1980s and ’90s. The accelerated rate of conversion, in part due to the unintended consequences of current agriculture policy and advanced technology, has contributed to the loss of more than 70 percent of the nation’s native grasslands and 50 percent of its wetlands.
“DU congratulates the Senate, led by Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Thad Cochran, on this bipartisan accomplishment,” Hall said. “Now we look to the House of Representatives to bring their Agriculture Committee-passed farm bill to the floor for a vote on final passage and bring the House and Senate farm bills into conference. The agriculture and conservation community urge a comprehensive farm bill be sent to the president before the current extension expires on September 30.”
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.