On July 10, state legislators from across the Midwest came together with representatives from the sportsmen’s community to discuss priorities for hunting conservation organizations for the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization.
The reception took place during the Council of State Governments Midwestern Legislative Conference held in Des Moines, Iowa.
Iowa Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative Terry Baxter kicked off the program, welcoming attendees to Iowa and highlighting the importance of Farm Bill programs to hunters and anglers, both in Iowa and across the country. “Farm Bill programs help provide needed habitat for the species that our state’s 600,000 hunters and anglers pursue,” said Rep. Baxter. “The Farm Bill’s partnerships between agricultural producers and government agencies has a proven track record of success.”
Representatives from Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever and Ducks Unlimited provided details on some of the most important conservation programs in the Farm Bill, and the goals for those programs in the 2018 reauthorization.
Dave Nomsen, Vice President of Government Affairs for Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, highlighted the importance of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). “As part of the Farm Bill, the Conservation Reserve Program is the most successful private lands conservation platform in our country’s history,” Nomsen said. “It is vital that we raise the national acreage cap for CRP to support wildlife, hunters, anglers, and the nation’s farming and ranching communities in 2018.”
Kyle Rorah, the Great Lakes and Atlantic Region Government Affairs Representative with Ducks Unlimited, expanded on other programs important to hunters and anglers in the Farm Bill, including the Voluntary Public Access – Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP). “VPA-HIP works to protect and enhance private lands for recreational use by providing financial incentives to landowners that open their land for the public to hunt on. Continuing this program is a priority to ensure that current and future generations of sportsmen and women have quality places to enjoy the outdoors.”
Title Sponsors of the reception included: Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever. The Host Sponsor was Iowa Conservation Alliance.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?