As the Senate prepares to introduce its version of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the House commits to revisit H.R. 2 in June, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is hopeful that the next reauthorization maintains and enhances the strong conservation programs in the bill.
These programs, along with over $5 billion in conservation funding each year, are vital tools in conserving and enhancing our national hunting and angling heritage. CSF’s recommendations for the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization include:
- Set baseline funding for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program at $500 million per year.
- Reauthorize the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentives Program at $150 million of total funding over 5 years.
- Increase the Conservation Reserve Program acreage cap beyond the current cap of 24 million acres to meet demand.
- Reauthorize and maintain or increase baseline funding of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program at $100 million per year.
- Maintain or increase funding for Working Lands Programs.
- Maintain the linkage between conservation compliance provisions, crop insurance premium subsidies, and other farm benefits.
- Reauthorize the Healthy Forest Reserve Program with baseline funding of $12 million per year.
- Maintain and fully implement the ‘Sodsaver’ provision nationwide.
These conservation priorities are similar to the priorities of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Delta Waterfowl, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever and other partners in the hunting conservation community.
The Farm Bill’s conservation programs are highly successful partnerships between farmers, ranchers, landowners and the American taxpayer that provide clean water, healthy soils, abundant wildlife populations, and outdoor recreation opportunities across the nation. CSF’s recommendations will help the newest iteration of the Farm Bill continue to meet the needs of our nation’s farmers, hunters, and anglers.
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