Why It Matters: Set to expire at the end of September, the reauthorization of the Farm Bill remains a top priority for many across the country. This includes the sporting-conservation community that supports the conservation programs contained in the Farm Bill’s Conservation and Forestry Titles. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) appreciates the state legislators who make up the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses’ Executive Council (EC) for recognizing these benefits and taking steps to voice their support for robust Farm Bill conservation programs.
- In advance of CSF’s 2023 Farm Bill Fly-In, members of the EC submitted a letter to members of Congress joining the sporting-conservation community in voicing support for robust investments in conservation programs through the Farm Bill.
- Reauthorized, roughly, every five years, the Farm Bill includes language that impacts every American. Of importance for sportsmen, the Bill’s Conservation and Forestry Titles represent some of the largest federal investments in public and private lands conservation in the world.
- As Congress works to develop a bipartisan Farm Bill this year, the EC’s support for the Conservation and Forestry Titles highlights the importance of these titles to our nation’s sportsmen and women, including those walking the halls of state houses around the country.
In support of the 2023 Farm Bill Fly-In hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation on May 16, members of the bipartisan EC issued a letter of support for robust investments in the Bill’s Conservation and Forestry Titles. Representing sportsmen-minded state legislators from around the country, the letter highlights the benefits that Farm Bill conservation and forestry programs can have for the conservation of our public trust fish and wildlife resources, and our ability as sportsmen and women to enjoy them.
Reauthorized roughly every five years, the Farm Bill includes programs that fund everything from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to crop insurance. For sportsmen and women, the voluntary, incentive-based provisions authorized under the Bill’s Conservation and Forestry Titles represent some of the largest and most impactful investments in private and public lands conservation in the country. This includes the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), through which farmers receive rental payments in exchange for transitioning cropped acres to a conservation practice, typically for a period of 10-15 years. Hunters around the country rely on CRP acres, in large part due to the creation of quality habitat for many popular game species.
Also of particular importance for sportsmen and women, who struggle to find access to quality hunting areas, is the Voluntary Public Access – Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP). VPA-HIP provides landowners with monetary benefits in exchange for opening their private property for public access to outdoor recreational opportunities. With many states operating some version of a public access to private lands program, CSF is extremely proud of the EC’s support for VPA-HIP and its benefits to the sporting-conservation community and the associated rural economies.
The Farm Bill truly represents a piece of federal legislation that impacts all Americans. This is particularly true for the sporting-conservation community, and CSF encourages all hunters, anglers, and trappers to remain engaged and join us, the NASC Executive Council, and our partners in support of strong Conservation and Forestry Titles. To learn more about the Farm Bill’s role in supporting our time-honored outdoor traditions and opportunities to engage, stay tuned to The Sportsmen’s Voice and similar publications produced by CSF’s mission partners.