Dennis Anderson: Action urged on House Farm Bill

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 14, 2012 - 10:20 PM

Conservation provisions with the Senate measure are resolvable, observers say.

The House Agriculture Committee wrapped up its version of a new federal Farm Bill late last week. But whether the measure will be heard on the House floor before Congress' August break is unclear. For soil, water and wildlife conservation in Minnesota and elsewhere, a lot hangs in the balance.

This is particularly true because the recently approved federal Transportation Bill went to President Obama's desk virtually devoid of appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which Congress first approved in the 1960s to pay for recreation and conservation projects nationwide.

The fund is bankrolled by a percentage of fees the government charges for offshore oil and gas leases. But in recent years -- including in the recently passed Transportation Bill -- lawmakers diverted the funds elsewhere.

Conservationists had hoped to use some of the LWCF money to pay for millions of dollars of perpetual conservation easements primarily in the Dakotas. The intent was to conserve some of the fragile grasslands that are being plowed up, or might be, as a result of high corn and other crop prices.

The easements would come from willing landowners, of whom there are hundreds, who have told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service they would like to participate.

The Senate already has passed a Farm Bill that includes key provisions conservationists like. One is sodsaver, which provides farmers and ranchers incentives not to break up previously unplowed grasslands. The other is a compliance provision that links participation in USDA commodity programs, including crop insurance, with adherence to federal swampbuster and sodbuster programs.

The aim of both is to conserve lands a wide variety of game and nongame birds and other animals depend on, while also protecting fragile soils and discouraging farmland runoff.

Differences between the conservation titles of the Senate and House bills can be resolved in a conference committee, observers believe. The House, for instance, limits its sodsaver provision to the Prairie Pothole Region, while the Senate's would apply nationwide. Also, there is no conservation compliance provision in the House bill, though a floor amendment calling for one is expected.

For its part, the House went much deeper in cuts to the food stamp program, trimming it by $16 billion -- a big chunk of the $35 billion in cuts the chamber proposes over 10 years ($6.1 billion from conservation programs).

Minnesota Democrats Rep. Collin Peterson and Rep. Tim Walz have played key roles in shaping the conservation parts of the House Farm Bill. Peterson, the ranking minority committee member and former chairman, told Environment and Energy Daily reporter Amanda Peterka on Friday the bill will reach the House floor soon.

"It's important it does,'' said Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever vice president of government affairs. "If it doesn't, I think the cuts could get a lot worse.''

Dennis Anderson • danderson@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota - T. May 6:05 PM
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez
NY Yankees - C. Capuano 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Buehrle
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Miami - T. Koehler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll
Texas - S. Baker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close