Farm Bill Expires; The Facts & Hopes

    The Farm Bill officially expired on Sunday, September 30th because Congress adjourned without reauthorizing or extending the bill. What does this mean? In the short term, no new contracts can be written for the Conservation Reserve Program, the Grassland Reserve Program, the Wetlands Reserve Program or the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program. Speaker Boehner indicated that the House will examine the Farm Bill in November when members of Congress return after the election for the lame duck session. The Senate has already passed their version of the bill.
    For a report by the Congressional Research Service (Possible Extension or Expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill) visit the “Issues” tab on the Kansas Wildlife Federation homepage. This report does not provide any kind of advocacy position. It is a non-partisan review of the Farm Bill provided to members of congress and their committees.

The view of the Kansas Wildlife Federation regarding crafting of the next Farm Bill legislation is as follows:

“The federal Farm Bill may be the biggest factor influencing the well being of wildlife in Kansas. Almost all land in Kansas (98%) is in private ownership and most of that is in agriculture production, either growing crops or livestock. Thus if we are to have an impact on wildlife habitat and populations, it must be done on private land. The farm bill greatly influences how that land is managed.  It not only provides funding for conservation programs that improve wildlife habitat like the Conservation Reserve Program but also commodity programs that influence what crops will be grown. This aspect determines the amounts of native vegetation converted to cropping. That is why we must try to insure that a strong conservation title remains in every farm bill.

The Kansas Wildlife Federation has been working with our congressional delegation and other Kansas conservation organizations to incorporate strong conservation programs in the new Farm Bill. We support including conservation compliance, a sodsaver provision and retaining the successful Conservation Reserve (CRP), Grasslands Reserve (GRP) and Wetlands Reserve (WRP) programs.

KWF urges you to contact your congressional representative and let them know you support strong conservation programs in the 2012 Farm Bill.”