Senate Farm Bill Protects Soil, Water, Wildlife
“Basic soil and wetland protection requirements were extended to apply to crop insurance premium subsidies.”
The National Wildlife Federation commends Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) for their leadership in crafting and moving out of committee a strong, bipartisan reauthorization of the farm bill.
“The Senate farm bill includes an historic agreement between agriculture and conservation organizations to ensure that basic soil and wetland protection requirements were extended to apply to crop insurance premium subsidies,” said Julie Sibbing, director of Agriculture and Forestry Programs, National Wildlife Federation.
“NWF thanks the Committee members for their support of the agreement, especially Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who successfully offered an amendment to attach these provisions to crop insurance on the Senate floor last year and who stood up for the agreement in committee today.”
“We also thank Chairwoman Stabenow for standing up against amendments that would have weakened the current requirements to protect soil and wetlands as a condition of receiving subsidies.”
The National Wildlife Federation praises the inclusion of a number of modifications to the farm bill, including:
- an amendment by Senator Thune (R-SD) to ensure tracking of conversion of native prairies to crop production,
- an amendment by Senator Bennett (D-CO) to make the new easement program work better for protection of native grasslands
- an amendment by Senator Donnelly (D-IN) to begin to address the issue of risk management coverage for energy crops
- an amendment by Sen. Heitkamp (D-NV) to allow the Natural Resources Conservation Service to have more say over how to allocate technical assistance programs among programs
“The Senate Agriculture Committee passed a farm bill today which seeks to minimize the effects of cuts to conservation and energy programs, and includes important protections for soil, water, wildlife and declining grassland ecosystems,” Sibbing said. “We look forward to working with them to pass a final farm bill this year that includes these important protections.”
Ensure that worthy Farm Bill conservation programs are reauthorized at appropriate levels, structured to achieve maximum wildlife and environmental benefits, and fully funded during the annual appropriations process.
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