Federal Farm Bill Clears Conference Committee

The Federal farm bill has cleared a House-Senate conference committee and will move to the House and Senate for a final vote. Here are excerpts from a Ducks Unlimited news release moments ago about the bill and especially its conservation provisions:

“The farm bill report is a true compromise for farming and wildlife,” said Tim Roble, state chairman of Minnesota Ducks Unlimited. “No one got everything they wanted, but we all got some real victories, and for that reason we are supportive of the conference report.”

Ducks Unlimited conservation priorities in the conference report include recoupling of conservation compliance with crop insurance, a Sodsaver provision that protects native prairie in the duck factory of North America, a consolidated easement program that includes a strong wetland component, and continuing important programs like the Conservation Reserve Program, Conservation Stewardship Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Agriculture is big business in Minnesota, and so are hunting and angling, both of which depend upon clean water, healthy soils and habitat conservation on private lands. Sportsmen and women spend an average of $8.7 million a day on hunting and angling.

“This farm bill provides a good balance of landowner support and conservation that will contribute to both economies,” said David Brakhage, Director of DU’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Region. “In 2011, hunting and fishing generated $3.2 billion in revenue to the Minnesota economy, which is more than the combined revenues for hogs, the state’s third highest grossing agricultural commodity.