posted on March 05, 2014 21:48
After years in the making the Agricultural Act of 2014, often referred as the farm bill, became law when on Wednesday 12th February President Obama officially signed it off. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have both praised President Obama for his action as well as the support that has been received in the House and Senate.
The farm bill has reauthorized the vital conservation programs and is developing the conservation compliance to crop insurance and native prairie (sodsaver) protection.
The conservation compliance and sodsaver aspects of the farm bill are there to encourage the protection of the remaining US wetlands and grasslands whilst simultaneously preventing soil erosion and increasing the quality of water.
However, the time it has taken for the bill to eventually become law has taken its toll on conservation efforts. Millions of acres of habitat have been lost nationwide and pheasant and other game birds have seen rapid population decline. According to recent population counts of South Dakota pheasants, there has been a 64% population decline.
There is certainly a lot inside the bill that will aid in the conservation efforts, as well as the funding to support pheasant hunting. For example there will be a $40 million fund for ‘Open Fields’, otherwise known as the Voluntary Public Access and Incentive Programs which gives hunters access to more lands while supporting conservation efforts.
Another major element of the bill is the consolidation of 23 US Department of Agriculture conservations into 13. It is anticipated that these will improve delivery to those who are interested in the programs.
It is highly hoped that these efforts, coupled with those of Dennis Daugaard's pheasant panel, can help bring about a change in fortune for the wildlife in South Dakota – one of the areas that is specifically targeted in the bill because of its remaining sodsavers.
What are your thoughts - will the bill support wildlife populations?
Let us know in the comments below?