The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Outdoors

February 9, 2014

Cross column: Win Some, Lose Some with New Farm Bill

(Continued)

Walz said that while he wasn’t pleased with the reduced funding for CRP and acreage reductions, the reality of current farm economics trumped the popular conservation program.

“That was a tough one,” he said. “It breaks my heart to see those CRP acres coming down but with what we can pay, it makes it very difficult to make the numbers work.”

However, Walz said the Sodsaver provision, which should discourage landowners in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana and the Dakotas from converting native grassland into row crops by limiting crop insurance subsidies on those acres, might act to offset some of those losses.

Statements released from national conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation and Pheasants Forever universally hailed the 2014 Farm Bill’s conservation measures.

Dave Nomsen, vice president of government affairs for the conservation group Pheasants Forever, said that overall, his organization was pleased with the bill.

“First of all, it’s very good news that it’s done,” he said. “It’s been an agonizing two-plus years.”

He said that once again tying crop insurance to conservation compliance along with the new Sodsaver provision were particularly vital components to a new farm bill if it was going to address critical conservation concerns.

Nomsen said that Walz, who served on the Farm Bill Conference Committee which crafted the legislation, deserved much of the credit for getting those two components included.

“He really was a champion in all of this,” Nomsen said. “Tim’s leadership was critical.”

Another conservation component within the bill included a consolidation of 23 government conservation programs into just 13, which Nomsen characterized as “tweaking” that should streamline the administration of easement programs such as the Wetland and Grassland Reserve.

“We’re satisfied with the bill, but rather than it being an end point, we really see it as a starting point,” he said.

The real measure of success of what lawmakers crafted for 2014 Farm Bill, he said, ultimately will be measured a few years down the road by the amount of grasslands and wetlands that still can be found in the countryside.

John Cross is a Free Press staff writer. Contact him at 344-6376 or by e-mail at jcross@mankatofreepress.com.

 

 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Outdoors
  • mfp sports jcross outdoor column 7-20 Chasing walleyes in South Dakota nice We slowed to a crawl the other day on the dusty Day County township road in northeast South Dakota, a courtesy to the farmer who was baling ditch hay south of Webster.Otherwise, we would have enveloped him as he drove his open tractor in the choking

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fishing report Outlook on area lakes

    July 6, 2014

  • Cross column: No wake, no fish ... no problems on the water Patience is always a virtue when fishing.

    July 6, 2014

  • Cross column: Where does the buck stop in your home?

    Displaying your trophy catch can be debatable

    June 29, 2014

  • Know Your Lakes: Series maps

    Missed out on the weekly lake preview Wednesday's in the print edition? That's ok, we have you covered here. View the series thus far and download a printable PDF.

    May 24, 2011

  • Storms came at horrible time for pheasants For pheasants and pheasant hunters, there were no silver linings to be found in the storm clouds that inundated the countryside with heavy rains this week.A foot of rain falling in just a week is never good, but for pheasants, it came at precisely th

    June 22, 2014

  • Early morning is beautifully lonely Benjamin Franklin was on to something when he extolled the benefits of "early to bed, early to rise." While I can't vouch for its effect on health, wealth or wisdom, rolling out of the sack certainly seems to pay dividends for outdoor activities. The

    June 15, 2014

  • mfp sports cross column 6-1 Cross: Take a kid fishing, no license needed A few years ago, while cruising with a co-worker through an area community on a steamy summer day, we passed a vacant lot. There, oblivious to the heat and humidity, a group of kids were playing a game of pick-up baseball, racing down well-worn paths

    June 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cross: Once upon a time, when fishing was simple... Once upon a time, fishing was a pretty simple affair. A rod-and-reel, some bait and tackle, perhaps a rowboat if you were lucky, and you were in business. While the basic premise of angling -- to catch fish -- remains, it sure seems to have grown mor

    May 25, 2014

  • mfp sports jcross opening day 2 Almost too nice to catch Leech Lake walleye LEECH LAKE -- Opening day of the Minnesota fishing season on Leech Lake arrived Saturday, cloudless and with nary a breath of wind. It was the nice weather one might expect all winter-weary anglers to embrace as we motored away from harbors, resorts

    May 11, 2014 2 Photos