Sportsmen's conservation group outlines 2013 policy priorities

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2013- Investments in conservation programs and the passage of a full, five-year farm bill are included as priorities for the nation's sportsmen in the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership's (TRCP) recently unveiled 2013 Conservation Policy Agenda.

Developed among the TRCP's individual and organizational partners, which include national hunting, fishing and conservation organizations, labor unions and grassroots sportsmen, the report outlines the sportsmen's consensus priorities over the coming year.

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“A number of important Farm Bill conservation programs and programs that support recreational access on private lands expired with zero baseline funding at the end of September 2012,” noted the agenda. “Though these programs may or may not be reauthorized in the next Farm Bill, the outcomes that they sought to achieve are still valid and must be replicated through federal agriculture policy.”

The group's priorities for the farm bill include producer eligibility for crop insurance tied to conservation compliance as well as authorization of the Sodsaver program. TRCP also advocates for tax incentives for conservation easement donations via recommendations in the fiscal year 2013-2014 budget proposal.

Climate change initiatives are emphasized in the TRCP's 2013 priorities. These include increased annual appropriation to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the State Wildlife Grants Program, as well as other state and tribal fish and wildlife agency programs.

“The sporting community is part of an outdoor recreation, natural resource conservation and historic preservation sector that generates more than $ 1 trillion for the U.S. economy every year,” states the agenda. “This sector also produces $107 billion in tax revenue annually and supports 9.4 million jobs.”

For these reasons, conservation funding should be set at the highest levels possible, noted TRCP, including balancing domestic energy development with the needs of fish and wildlife.

“Domestic energy development has become one of the most controversial subjects facing land managers today,” states the policy agenda. “The first step toward its resolution is revision of the current paradigm that prioritizes energy development over all other values and uses and recommitment to a true multiple-use approach to managing lands and resources.”

The top legislative vehicle for the group's energy priorities are identified as the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the Multiple-Use Sustained Yield Act.

Regarding the Chesapeake Bay, TRCP said the watershed can serve as a “pilot project” on how to address non-point source pollution in other large watersheds.

To view the entire policy agenda, click here.

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