The American Prairies Conservation Act of 2017 expands to the entire country a grasslands protection provision known as “Sodsaver,” which currently only applies to six states. The bipartisan bill, which was introduced on October 4, 2017 by Senators John Thune (R-SD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Representatives Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Tim Walz (D-MN) will prioritize and protect our nation’s remaining native prairies and prime grasslands by ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not continue to subsidize the destruction of these critical lands. Representatives Colin Peterson (D-MN) and Rick Crawford (R-AR) have also joined the effort as co-sponsors. Grasslands and prairies are rapidly disappearing in the United States. As these lands disappear, so too do ranching and hunting opportunities, vibrant ecosystems, strong soil systems, and economic opportunities for rural communities.
The American Prairies Conservation Act will preserve grasslands by limiting crop insurance premium subsidies on newly broken native sod. It also directs USDA to collect data and report on grassland loss across the country.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the American Prairies Conservation Act of 2017 will save American taxpayers more than $50 million.