Every few years, the Farm Bill becomes the topic of discussion in the media, but only some of the programs take center stage. This cycle was no different. While programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), hemp and cannabidiol (CBD oil or cannibis oil) dominated the mainstream media’s headlines, other programs important to sportsmen and conservation were overshadowed.
“The Farm Bill is not only vital for our nation’s farmers and forest landowners, but is also one of the most critical pieces of legislation for wildlife conservation and hunting access on public and private lands,” said Becky Humphries, CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation. “Through stewardship and active management, the provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill will assist in creating healthier forests and more opportunities for sportsmen and women for generations to come.”
Some of these important programs authorized in the Farm Bill include:
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
- CRP land is critical habitat for upland gamebirds and the bill will increase CRP acreage from 24 million to 27 million acres by 2023.
- Instructs the Secretary of Agriculture to enroll 30 percent of all acreage within continuous CRP, which is 8.6 million acres in total, and also directs the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct routine signups with targeted state-to-state allocations, which adds new acreage to the program each year.
- Creates a new program entitled CLEAR 30 which is a pilot program for a 30-year contract option with landowners.
Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP)
- Reauthorizes funding for VPA-HIP at $50 million over the life of the Farm Bill. This is an extremely important program because it helps state and tribal governments increase public access to private lands for hunting and fishing.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
- Expands and strengthens the program and includes $1.5 billion to leverage local, state and other non-federal dollars to create and enhance wildlife habitat on private land.
These and other programs in the Farm Bill are vital to sportsmen across the country by providing access to land while improving private land conservation efforts.
“We applaud Congress for getting this important bill over the finish line and to the President’s desk, and including the important programs that benefit sportsmen and women,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “These programs are important to sportsmen and women because they continue to expand public access, enhance wildlife habitats and protect our heritage for years to come.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.