Make that some very, very good news.
In an example of what has become rare political compromise in Washington, the nation’s leading farm lobbyists cut a deal with sportsmen’s conservation groups.
The farmers for the first time agreed to support linking crop insurance subsidies to compliance with conservation programs, while conservation groups involved agreed to oppose amendments that would limit farmers’ access to insurance programs, and will support lightening some regulations of conservation programs.
The compromise was a major breakthrough for sportsmen’s groups who have long sought to link subsidies to conservation. The change gives farmers an economic incentive to comply with critical conservation efforts. And it allows sportsmen to argue that if programs such as Sod Buster come with the linkage, they could save taxpayers $200 million a year.
Sportsmen’s groups involved in the deal were the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the National Wildlife Federation. The Environmental Defense Fund and the National Association of Conservation Districts joined them.
The deal will be included in the Farm Bill being considered by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. It then goes to the full Senate, which is expected to pass a bill by the end of the month.
Last year the Senate passed a Farm Bill that include a linkage. The House didn’t pass a final bill, and the measure that was approved by the House committee did not have the linkage.