Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sportsmen's Groups Unite to Urge House to Pass Farm Bill

Sportsmen's groups united to send members of the U.S. House of Representatives a letter urging a yes vote on the farm bill.

Groups who signed included: Archery Trade Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Boone and Crockett Club, Bowhunting Preservation Alliance, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, Catch-A-Dream Foundation, Congressional Sportsmen Foundation, Conservation Force, Masters of Foxhounds Association, Mississippi River Trust, Mule Deer Foundation, National Association of Forest Service Retirees, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, North American Grouse Partnership, Pheasants Forever, Pope and Young Club, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ruffed Grouse Society, Texas Wildlife Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Quail Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, Wildlife Forever, and Wildlife Mississippi.

Dear U.S. House of Representatives:

After three long years of debate, the four primary Agriculture Committee negotiators have announced a final farm bill agreement, which enhances and strengthens vital polices for wildlife, private landowners, sportsmen and women. The 2014 Farm Bill is expected to come to the House floor for final passage tomorrow and the Senate floor in the near future. The compromise legislation includes a number of provisions that will expand and enhance habitat conservation as well as benefit sportsmen and women all across America. Below is a list of some of the wildlife benefits of the 2014 Farm Bill:

• Streamlines and consolidates programs to create an easement program with mandatory fund­ing to protect wetlands as well as farmland or grassland that is threatened by suburban sprawl. In addition, the bill protects access to wetland easements for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

• Continues to encourage private landowners to allow public access to their land for recreational uses such as hunting, fishing and bird watching. The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentives Pro­gram receives $40 million in mandatory funding in the bill.

• Includes a provision that would require farmers and ranchers to abide by basic conservation measures in exchange for federal subsidies for crop insurance on highly erodible land and wetlands.

• Includes "Sodsaver," a provision that limits crop insurance subsidies for the first few years in areas where land is newly converted to cropland. The measure discourages farmers from tilling native grasslands, critical for ducks, pheasants and other grassland nesting birds.

• Provides big wins for forest health advocates by permanently extending stewardship contracting and expanding good-neighbor authority on roughly 193 million acres of national forests. The bill also allows the Forest Service to designate "landscape-scale" treatment areas and use expedited permitting authority to protect the areas from insects or disease.

• Allows agencies to expand their use of streamlined permitting under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act to projects that reduce a landscape's susceptibility to insect infestations or disease. Old-growth trees must be retained under this authority, "as appropriate to the forest type."
On behalf of the more than 40 million American hunters and anglers, we urge you to VOTE YES on the 2014 Farm Bill!!

Archery Trade Association *Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies * Boone and Crockett Club * Bowhunting Preservation Alliance * Delta Waterfowl * Ducks Unlimited *Catch-A-Dream Foundation * Congressional Sportsmen Foundation * Conservation Force * Masters of Foxhounds Association
Mississippi River Trust * Mule Deer Foundation * National Association of Forest Service Retirees * National Rifle Association * National Shooting Sports Foundation * National Wild Turkey Federation * North American Grouse Partnership * Pheasants Forever * Pope and Young Club * Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Ruffed Grouse Society * Texas Wildlife Association *Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership * Quail Forever * Quality Deer Management Association * Wildlife Forever * Wildlife Mississippi