FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Reana Kovalcik, 202-547-5754, email@example.com
Kanika Gandhi, 202-547-5754, firstname.lastname@example.org
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Endorses American Prairies Conservation Act
Washington, DC, October 4, 2017 – The American Prairies Conservation Act, a bipartisan bill introduced today 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 in the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill.
The bill expands a 2014 Farm Bill “Sodsaver” provision from only six states (IA, MN, MT, NE, ND, and SD) to nationwide. Sodsaver reduces federal premium subsidies for crop insurance by 50 percentage points on land where native sod has been plowed for crop planting. By expanding Sodsaver to include the southern plains, the American Prairies Conservation Act will help to protect native sod in areas with some of the highest grassland loss rates nationwide.
“America is rapidly losing our few remaining areas of native prairie and grassland,” said Kanika Gandhi, Policy Specialist for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). “As these lands are plowed and converted to crops, we systematically weaken our ecosystems and reduce ranching and hunting opportunities. The American Prairies Conservation Act will help us to conserve these vital areas by reducing taxpayer-subsidized incentives to convert them to cropland.”
In addition to expanding Sodsaver, the American Prairies Conservation Act:
- Closes a loophole from previous legislation that allowed producers to convert native sod to a non-annual crop for 1-4 years in order to transition to an annual crop without being subject to Sodsaver.
- Requires the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to track and report on grassland loss through existing crop certification systems.
“We applaud Senators Thune, Klobuchar, Bennet, and Rounds, and Representatives Noem and Walz for their leadership in preserving these critical lands through the American Prairies Conservation Act,” said Gandhi. “The amendments to the 2014 effort will ensure that these acres are being used responsibly and in the best interest of taxpayers across the country.”
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the American Prairies Conservation Act will save taxpayers $52 million over the next ten years. NSAC strongly urges the both Agriculture Committees to include the Act in the 2018 Farm Bill.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net