SYRACUSE – 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 Joe Nicosia, state chairman of New York 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 compliance with conservation practices and 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. In the Great Lakes, a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program should provide additional assistance to agricultural producers to protect and restore the Great Lakes, working with a wide array of partners.
"We are fortunate that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was on the Senate Agriculture Committee and used her influence to positively impact the Senate and House conferees," added DU chairman Nicosia, "Her leadership and commitment to conservation is much appreciated by the 15,000 DU members in our state. Her 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 New York, and so is hunting and angling, both of which depend upon clean water, healthy soils and habitat conservation on private lands.
"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 $4.95 billion in revenue to the New York economy, which is more than the combined revenues for dairy products, the state's highest grossing agricultural commodities. 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."