Ducks Unlimited Press Release
The House Committee on Agriculture is expected to consider the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R.2), more commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, on Wednesday, April 18.
After hosting listening sessions throughout the country this summer, the committee markup will represent the first legislative step in the lengthy process of reauthorizing the 2014 Farm Bill due to expire September 30.
Ducks Unlimited volunteers attended each of this summer’s listening sessions and the Agriculture Committee heard their calls regarding the conservation title of the Farm Bill.
“We thank Chairman Conaway and Ranking Member Peterson for holding listening sessions and allowing our voices to be heard,” Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall said. “If the farm gates close to Ducks Unlimited, we cannot accomplish our conservation vision of filling the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. This bill takes a strong step in ensuring that future.”
Ducks Unlimited was pleased to see the following priorities in the House draft and encourage their inclusion in the final bill:
Conservation Compliance and Crop Insurance – During the debate over the 2014 Farm Bill, the wildlife community, the crop insurance industry and commodity groups came together to support re-linking conservation compliance to crop insurance and defend against cuts to crop insurance. Ducks Unlimited is proud to see these important policy priorities continued in the Committee’s bill.
Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) – $500 million in annual funding and improvements to encourage enrollment. In 2018, ACEP funding dropped to $250 million which is expected to only meet 7 percent of landowner demand for easements this year. We welcome this additional funding that more closely resembles historical levels for wetland and agricultural land easements.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – $250 million in direct annual funding. RCPP was created in the 2014 Farm Bill. Ducks Unlimited is very happy to see this important program continued. Current projects like those Ducks Unlimited has partnered with USA Rice Federation may now continue through language in this bill.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) – An increase to 29 million acres by 2023.
Voluntary Public Access and Hunter Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) – $50 million over the life of the bill to promote public hunting access on private lands.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on the orgnaization and its work, visit www.ducks.org.
(Featured Photo: Wetlands and marginal lands will benefit under the proposed Farm Bill. DU Photo)