Senate Passes 2013 Farm Bill, Faces Tough Challenge in House

The U.S. Senate passed a five-year farm bill on Monday that could benefit hunters for generations to come. The 2013 Farm Bill, which passed by 66-27 vote, includes a title that includes a national Sodsaver program and extra federal crop insurance assistance, according to a press release from Ducks Unlimited, and would additionally streamline conservation programs and trim the budget in the process.

Both measures, the organization said, would help preserve the nation's wetlands and grasslands by preventing soil erosion, maintaining clean waters and maintaining a stable habitat for wildlife. The bill will cost $905 billion over the next 10 years, cutting $24 billion from current spending levels.

"A national Sodsaver program and re-coupling conservation compliance to crop insurance are tremendous steps forward in slowing the devastating trend of wetland and grassland habitat loss," Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall said in the press release. "Our nation is currently experiencing a rate of wetland and native prairie loss not seen since the Dust Bowl. These proactive programs will benefit humans and wildlife by ensuring clean drinking water, lessening the impact of floods, slowing the rate of habitat destruction and keeping working farms and ranches productive."


According to the bill summary, Title II includes several conservation provisions that consolidate 23 existing programs, saving $5 billion in the process. For example, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) will provide cost-share for activities on working lands while refocusing the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) on farmers and ranchers trying to either create or improve wildlife habitats on their land.


The bill also includes the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which "continues to encourage higher levels of conservation and the adoption of new and emerging conservation technologies on farms, ranches, and forests."

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits for hunters is the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, by which private landowners can see a value-added benefit to creating habitats or opening their lands up to public outdoor recreation — including hunting and fishing.

The bill's entire legislative text can be found here.

Despite the benefits to outdoorsmen, other environmental groups are less than thrilled with the outcome of this bill, according to The New York Times, which reported conservation programs would be cut by $3.5 billion. Additional reductions could be coming from the sequester. While many conservation groups noted some steps in the right direction, the Times said, the bill ultimately fell short of their expectations. No specific groups were cited by the Times.


The bill also faces opposition in the House of Representatives, which could kill the bill due to its proposed cuts to the federal food stamp program — $4.1 billion would be cut over the next 10 years by restricting access to college students and lottery winners in the Senate version of the bill according to U.S. News & World Report, while $20 billion would be slashed in the House version. The New York Times reported a similar bill passed the Senate in 2012, but was shot down in the House because conservative lawmakers wanted deeper cuts to the food stamp program.

The conservation programs laid out in the bill certainly benefit outdoorsmen across the nation, but time will tell whether the additional provisions get the bill stuck in a political quagmire, where it could ultimately fail.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Kevin Steele sights in his CZ .557 carbine rifle that he plans to use on a Colorado elk hunt.

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Former Delta Force Operator Kyle Lamb hikes the rugged desert mountains of northern Sonora in pursuit of the diminutive Coues species of whitetail.

Whitetail Shot Placement

Whitetail Shot Placement

Craig Boddington breaks down where hunters should aim for the best penetration of the vitals on a whitetail deer.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious marinades. Recipes

8 Best Venison Marinades

Hank Shaw

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious...

Learn how to grill the perfect medium-rare venison steak with these tips and tricks. Recipes

Venison Grilling Tips

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Learn how to grill the perfect medium-rare venison steak with these tips and tricks.

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled venison loin in this recipe. Recipes

Grilled Venison Loin with Caper-Mustard Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled...

See More Trending Articles

More News

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

We've lost 2.2 million hunters since 2011. Here's how to help save hunting.
 Photo Credit: Matt News

The Hunter Decline and How We Can Fix It

Andrew McKean - August 20, 2018

We've lost 2.2 million hunters since 2011. Here's how to help save hunting. Photo Credit: Matt

Hunters should't let the pandemic scare them away from license draws. News

Will COVID-19 Pandemic Kill Hunting Tag Applications?

Joe Arterburn - March 27, 2020

Hunters should't let the pandemic scare them away from license draws.

Stay up to date with state hunting season changes, travel restrictions, and more. News

COVID-19 Tracker: By State Updates on Seasons, Public Access

Jace Bauserman & OSG Staff - May 13, 2020

Stay up to date with state hunting season changes, travel restrictions, and more.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now