MINNEAPOLIS – Jan. 28, 2014 – After months of intense negotiations, the farm bill conference committee released their report today on the 2014 Farm Bill. The bill now heads to the House and Senate for confirmation, and Ducks Unlimited is encouraged by the report and supportive of its passage in both houses.
"The farm bill report is a true compromise for farming and wildlife," said Tim Roble, state chairman of Minnesota Ducks Unlimited. "No one got everything they wanted, but we all got some real victories, and for that reason we are supportive of the conference report."
Ducks Unlimited conservation priorities in the conference report include recoupling of conservation compliance with crop insurance, a Sodsaver provision that protects native prairie in the duck factory of North America, a consolidated easement program that includes a strong wetland component, and continuing important programs like the Conservation Reserve Program, Conservation Stewardship Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
"We are fortunate that Rep. Tim Walz is a ranking member of the agriculture subcommittee on conservation, energy and forestry, and used his influence to positively impact the Senate and House conferees," added DU chairman Roble, "His leadership and commitment to conservation is much appreciated by the 39,000 DU members in our state. His influence with the conference committee helped to secure conservation programs that conserve wetlands and other important habitats on private lands that contribute to better soil, water, and wildlife population health."
Agriculture is big business in Minnesota, and so is hunting and angling, both of which depend upon clean water, healthy soils and habitat conservation on private lands. Sportsmen and women spend an average of $8.7 million a day on hunting and angling.
"This farm bill provides a good balance of landowner support and conservation that will contribute to both economies," said David Brakhage, Director of DU's Great Lakes/Atlantic Region. "In 2011, hunting and fishing generated $3.2 billion in revenue to the Minnesota economy, which is more than the combined revenues for hogs, the state's third highest grossing agricultural commodity. We need all DU members and those that care about conservation to contact their legislators this week to support passage of the final farm bill."