On July 31, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation hosted a policy reception in Biloxi, Mississippi during the 71st Annual Meeting of The Council of State Governments’ Southern Legislative Conference. More than 60 guests, including legislators from eight states, gathered to learn about sportsmen’s priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill from leading conservation organizations.
National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council member and Co-Chair of the Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Representative Scott Bounds opened the reception, welcoming guests to Mississippi and underscoring the value of Farm Bill programs to Southern sportsmen and women. “We’re proud to welcome sportsmen-legislators from across the region to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Sportsmen and women are the original conservationists and, as legislators, we want to support the Farm Bill and other federal priorities that provide substantial conservation provisions benefitting all sportsmen around the country,” said Rep. Bounds.
Past NASC Executive Council President and current Co-Chair of the Kentucky Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Senator Robin Webb addressed the policy reception attendees, speaking about the importance of state sportsmen’s caucuses and their critical role in protecting and advancing sound policy for Southern hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and trappers. “As past President of the NASC Executive Council, it’s an honor to meet with legislators from other state sportsmen’s caucuses that work to protect our rights as sportsmen and women. Sincere thanks to the event sponsors and guests that attended to learn about the provisions in the Farm Bill that benefit hunters and anglers,” said Sen. Webb.
Ed Penny, Southern Regional Director of Public Policy for Ducks Unlimited, Dave Nomsen, Vice President of Government Affairs for Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, and Robert Smith, Coastal Program Coordinator for Wildlife Mississippi, spoke about the Farm Bill’s various conservation programs and provided information on their respective organizations’ priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization. Specific priorities from Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever focused on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and the Volunteer Public Access – Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP). Wildlife Mississippi focused on the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition and their respective forestry priorities within the Farm Bill.
The reception was made possible thanks to support from Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, and Wildlife Mississippi.
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?