As we approach the summer season Congress may again look to legislate a new Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill is an extension of the 2002 Farm Bill. The debate on a new Farm Bill will have lasting impacts on conservation, wildlife, and our hunting heritage. This is evident when looking at the changes that happened in the 1996 Farm Bill. Prior to 1996 any farmer who received crop insurance or protection was required to implement certain conservation practices. This disappeared in 1996 and was replaced by crop insurance protections that require no conservation compliance. This has been a disaster for wildlife and conservation of sensitive natural resources.
Fortunately Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota has introduced the Protect our Prairies Act (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr5879). This act if passed would conserve native grasslands by reducing crop insurance for the first four years on newly broken native sod or grasslands. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill could save taxpayers nearly $200 million over 10 years. Please encourage your congressional representative to support this legislation.