May 29, 2013

Senate Agriculture Committee reports Bipartisan Farm Bill

On May 14, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee successfully reported a five-year Farm Bill out of committee to the Senate floor. The bipartisan effort, led by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) member and Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Debbie Stabenow, passed with strong bipartisan support on a 15-5 vote.

The Senate Agriculture Committee approved this historic conservation pact, requiring conservation compliance for crop insurance to protect both the farmers and the natural resources that our nation’s farmers and ranchers will rely on for generations to come.

A strong conservation title, with a national Sodsaver provision, was included in the Senate bill. The agreement among conservation and agriculture organizations to support the re-coupling of conservation compliance to crop insurance is also an important component in this year’s comprehensive farm bill.

On May 15, the House Agriculture Committee marked up and reported out to the House floor their 2013 Farm Bill, with a 36-10 vote. The House farm bill would reduce spending over the next decade by $39.7 billion, with $20.5 billion coming from nutrition programs. Last year’s Farm Bill would have reduced spending by $35 billion and cut about $16 billion from nutrition assistance. Commodity subsidies and crop insurance under this year’s bill would take a combined $13.9 billion cut, while conservation programs would be reduced by $6.9 billion over the next decade.

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?

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