Monday Lawmakers from both the House and Senate reached a deal on the 2014 Farm Bill.
While the Farm Bill still has a long way to go, the proposed legislation will provide an increase in conservation payment programs as well as increased funding for conservation and habitat programs.
The coupling of crop insurance to conservation will be a huge step in the right direction for hunters and conservationists. Also, according to Ducks Unlimited, the bill includes support for the “Sodsaver” program that will remove government incentives to break new ground on grassland, for new crops. These initiatives are important for the protection of various wildlife and wetlands, which are instrumental in preserving the biodiversity of our ecosystems.
However, as with anything in our government, my hopes are not high of anything passing the House, Senate, and the President, without major bumps in the road. Let the gridlock begin. Already, members of both chambers have said they would not support the bill because it did not meet their standards for one issue or another.
While there is an increase in funding for conservation programs, there have been cuts made to food stamps and changes made to outdated crop subsidies, two issues that need serious attention.
So, now it is time to sit back and enjoy the show, and watch the debacle that is our government flail at legislation for a while.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out from here and if we keep our beloved conservation funding. Maybe I am pessimistic. I just don’t see it. There are too many lobbyists scurrying around right now, making sure mega-farms still see their necessary payouts. There are too many people unable to reconcile cuts to food stamps, while we all maintain hope that someone takes care of Mother Nature.
If the bill passes as it stands, great. I think we have propped up too many people on food stamps as it is, while failing the health of nature. Hopefully with this bill the champions of conservation will be heard, but only time will tell.
More outdoor legislation news: Wisconsin Eyes Wide-Scale Hunting Grant