Jan 14, 2014
for any progress toward passage of a farm bill. Heading into the break, Congress and
interest groups rejected the prospect of another extension of the existing farm legislation.
And while SNAP, the food assistance element of the bill, continues as the big money
issue; crop support systems and ‘Sodsaver’ are getting much of the conservation title
attention. Sodsaver is a provision which reduces subsidies on cropland that is converted
from native grasses…and remains one of the contested issues.
If you support a strong conservation program, contact your Congressman or Senator and
urge them to support strong Sodsaver provisions in any federal farm bill.
Opponents argue that Sodsaver adds additional hurdles to the farm bill. Not so. Farm
producer have to show cropping history and maintain records to qualify for crop
insurance. Adding Sodsaver would actually save taxpayers $16 million by trimming the
subsidy so that farmers do not convert fragile grassland just to obtain more funding from
the government to farm.
Of course, Sodsaver holds on to benefits for the outdoor recreation industry; too. Hunting
alone creates a $38 billion bump for our economy. A big part of that is waterfowl
hunting. And waterfowl hunting, of course, requires a little water; wetlands throughout
the migration corridors in the Midwest Prairie Pothole Region….and throughout North
Iowa ranks 5th
(22,301), making it tougher for our 253,000 hunters to pursue their passion. That takes
a bite out of the $448 million we spend in Iowa on hunting related equipment, supplies
and related items…dollars which support 6975 jobs, according to the U.S Fish & Wildlife
Grasslands and wetlands need protection. Our outdoor heritage and economy are too
important. Contact your Senators and Representative…as well as candidates to replace
them, in this election year. Tell them we need a national Sodsaver provision in the
next farm bill. Also tell them you oppose any efforts to weaken Swampbuster’s vital
protections of wetlands.
And when a farm bill is finally passed by Congress…check for the final decision; and
keep your concerns active, as the final rules are written for what should be a five year
Farm program plan.