WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dec. 12, 2018 – Following Senate passage yesterday, today the House of Representatives passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly known as the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill represents the largest and most important investment in private lands conservation in the country. This bipartisan legislation, which now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law, delivers strong voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs that promote healthy wildlife habitats benefiting all Americans.
“On behalf of the more than one million members and supporters of Ducks Unlimited, we’d like to thank Congress for their steadfast support of our nation’s wetlands and waterfowl through the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “By providing full-funding for the conservation title, Congress ensures these voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs will continue to create opportunities to work with farmers, ranchers and landowners across the country. Without their cooperation, Ducks Unlimited could not reach our goal of filling the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.”
Ducks Unlimited was pleased to see the following priorities included in the 2018 Farm Bill:
Conservation Compliance – Maintains a strong link between conservation compliance and federal farm programs, protecting wetlands in agricultural landscapes.
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) – Increases total funding by $2 billion over 10 years and allows greater participation in the program in priority areas by raising county enrollment caps. The bill also provides flexibility for grazing and wetland restoration on Wetland Reserve Easements to maximize benefits to wetlands and wildlife.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – Increases annual funding to $300 million and makes several programmatic improvements that will provide greater flexibility for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, partners and producers to implement projects. This will allow DU to renew successful RCPP projects and expand this proven partnership model to additional priority landscapes.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) – Raises the enrollment cap to 27 million acres, expands opportunities for grazing on CRP and continues to incentivize high-value wetlands and water quality practices.
Working Lands – Provides a robust increase in funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, doubles the wildlife set-aside to 10 percent and allows longer contracts for wildlife practices, including those that maintain high-value wetlands and promote post-harvest flooding.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.