February 04, 2014 (Washington, DC) - After three long years of debate, the United States Senate passed the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, also known as the 2014 Farm Bill. This bipartisan legislation enhances and strengthens vital polices important to sportsmen and women across the United States and has been a long time priority of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC).
The 2014 Farm Bill, which passed in the Senate with a vote of 68-32, includes critical provisions to enhance habitat for wildlife, increase access for hunters and anglers, encourage conservation stewardship and protect our forest health. This legislation includes the conservation and sportsmen's community's priorities of re-coupling conservation compliance to crop insurance and an important Sodsaver program.
"Today's passage is a clear victory for sportsmen and women. I want to thank the members of the bipartisan CSC for their hard work on the Farm Bill, making sure that the conservation title remains robust. Private lands and conservation incentives are very important for habitat conservation and protecting our sportsmen's heritage," said Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane.
The bill allocates funds for wetlands and grasslands conservation easements, and provides a voluntary, non-regulatory, incentive-based way for private landowners, farmers and ranchers to protect and restore wetlands and grasslands on their property.
CSC members, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Senator Thad Cochran, the committee's Ranking Member, were active proponents of the conservation titles within the bill.
Under the leadership of CSC members, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture Rep. Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Rep. Collin Peterson, the 2014 Farm Bill (H.R.2642) passed the U.S. House of Representatives on January 27. The bill is now headed to President Obama's desk where he is expected to sign it into law.
CSF along with 26 other sportsmen's conservation groups sent a letter to members of the United States Senate, urging them to vote in favor of the 2014 Farm Bill on behalf of the more than 40 million hunters and anglers in America.