The Senate has done its job for fish, wildlife and sportsmen–now it’s time for the House to step up.

Monday the Senate passed a new Farm Bill that includes two key provisions considered critical by conservation groups:

  • Sod Saver, which safeguards the nation’s dwindling base of native grasslands from agricultural development.
  • Making landowner compliance to conservation programs a prerequisite for taxpayer-funded crop insurance subsidies.

“The Senate has produced a bill that makes constructive changes to conservation programs, and it ensures that the shift to crop insurance premium support as the primary component of the farm safety net carries with it protection for wetlands, highly erodible lands and native prairie,” said Steve Kline, TRCP director of government relations.

Attention now shifts to the House which is considering a Farm Bill reported from committee that does not include a national Sod Saver program, or the compliance link. Compliance had been included in farm bills since 1985, but it was de-linked from crop insurance in the 1996 bill.

Conservation forces have mustered support for another attempt to put that link back in the House bill. That has come in the form of the proposed Crop Insurance Accountability Act of 2013.

Sportsmen’s groups are urging members to contact their House members to insist on their support for the new measure.

“The 2008 Farm Bill expires Sept. 30,” stated Dave Nomsen, vice president of government affairs for Pheasants Forever. “Another extension would irreversibly change the face of private lands conservation, threatening the existence of conservation programs that landowners have relied on for decades. Sportsmen and landowners are joining to urge the House to commit to advancing a forward-thinking Farm Bill as soon as possible.”

Sportsmen can find out who their congress members are and how to contact them at

Photo from Flickr