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Letter: Recouple conservation, crop insurance in Farm Bill

In the next few weeks, Congress will return to Washington to work on the 2013 Farm Bill and need to remember what’s important to Minnesota sportsmen and women — re-coupling conservation compliance and crop insurance.

In the past, conservation compliance has been linked to most U.S. agricultural commodity programs to reduce soil erosion and deter wetland damage. However, Congress has proposed several fundamental changes to farm policy that would eliminate many direct commodity supports and bolster crop insurance. Hence the need for recoupling.

Right now we are faced with losing about 1.4 million wetlands in the prairie pothole region, an area critical to our nation’s waterfowl. Recoupling of conservation compliance and crop insurance would safeguard these wetlands and impact very few farmers because more than 90 percent of them already participate in compliance programs.

The longstanding agreement between American taxpayers and farmers has served as an effective partnership model to protect the wetlands that provide drinking water and wildlife habitat.

As our Farm Bill leader from Minnesota, Congressman Peterson needs to support sportsmen by continuing this effective partnership model by re-coupling conservation compliance and crop insurance in the 2013 Farm Bill.