Safari Club International supports provisions in the Farm Bill, which is expected to be signed by President Donald Trump next week.
In the final days of the 115th Congress, the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report officially passed when the House voted to approve the measure yesterday. The Senate took a similar action earlier this week. President Trump is expected to sign the bill next week.
Safari Club International has traditionally supported reauthorization of the Farm Bill as the legislation includes funding for several agricultural land conservation programs important to hunters and for the protection of fish and wildlife habitat.
SCI members strongly support Title II of the 2018 Farm Bill, usually referred to as the “Conservation Title.” The new five-year Bill will fund programs that support soil, water, and fish and wildlife conservation on private lands, farms, ranches and forests. The Conservation Title contains several pro-sportsmen’s provisions, including the Conservation Reserve Program, the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program and the Voluntary Public Access & Hunter Incentive Program.
Specific Provisions supported by SCI include:
- The Conservation Reserve Program will provide contracts for 27 million acres of private land by 2023, allocating around $2 billion annually for farmers to remove environmentally sensitive land from their agricultural production in order to improve the land quality.
- The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program will provide $450 million per year (totaling $2.25 billion over five years) for financial assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands.
- The Voluntary Public Access – Habitat Improvement Program (VPA-HIP) will include $50 million total to enable state/tribal governments to increase public access to private lands for recreational opportunities and enhance fish/wildlife habitats.
- The Environmental Quality Incentives Program will allocate $9.2 billion over five years to allow agricultural producers to plan and implement conservation practices to improve soil, water, and fish and wildlife habitat.
“Safari Club International congratulates Congress on the passage of this very important legislation that provides resources for fish and wildlife conservation,” said SCI President Paul Babaz. “We look forward to working with the federal and state wildlife managers who are charged with implementing the critical conservation programs contained in this bill.”