Ducks Unlimited joined approximately 500 farmers, ranchers and agriculture leaders from across the nation in Washington, D.C., this week for a "Farm Bill Now" rally.
Marchers called for Congress to pass a five-year Farm Bill
before it's set to expire on Sept. 30. The bill has already passed the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee with bipartisan support.
Now, the House of Representatives must make wetlands and waterfowl a priority by calling a vote.
The "Farm Bill Now" Coalition said the bill's name implies it impacts only farmers, when it actually includes provisions for jobs, energy, conservation, food, research and more. According to the USDA, one in every 12 American jobs is tied back to U.S. farms.
Among the provisions in the Farm Bill affecting conservation, Ducks Unlimited has three main initiatives:
1. Effective wetland protections through re-coupling conservation compliance with crop insurance
2. A national Sodsaver
program to help slow the loss of native prairie; and
3. No more than $6 billion in funding cuts to important conservation programs.
"The value of agricultural conservation programs has never been easier to see," said Becky Humphries, director of DU's Great Lakes/Atlantic Region. "The Conservation Reserve Program, designed to hold land out of tillage, is providing emergency haying and grazing for our nation's cattle farmers right now. Without programs to support such actions we could have seen even more tragic results than we already have from this summer's drought."
The diverse coalition membership includes the nation's two largest farm groups, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Unions.