Two very important bills that impact conservation are languishing in the lame duck Congress.
The first is the Farm Bill. Generally, Congress authors a new farm bill every five years. The current bill expired in September. If Congress doesn’t renew or rewrite the law, it will revert at year end to the “permanent law” written before WWII. That won’t be fun for anyone except the Amish.
In recent decades, the Farm Bill has contained modern conservation provisions like the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, and the Wildlife Incentives Program. These programs and others are instrumental in protecting and maintaining diverse wildlife populations across our country. Just one planting season without the programs in place will set land and wildlife conservation back 25 years.
The Farm Bill is critical to many bird species including the Greater Sage Grouse, the Sandhill Crane, and migratory waterfowl.
The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, the second bill, would continue critical habitat investment in programs like NAWCA and the Neo-tropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act. The Act is a compilation of 19 bipartisan bills important to conservation of habitat and wildlife.
Although the bills enjoy broad, bi-partisan support, a few cantankerous members are holding them up to make partisan points. Congress, heralding a new era of cooperation, can send holiday greetings across the land by passing both of these bills before they call it a long winter’s night!
1-The author lives in Michiana’s Amish Country and counts several Amish families as friends.