It should not be news to any that the 2013 farm bill did not make it off the floor of the House of Representatives, even after receiving bipartisan support from the House Committee on Agriculture and having a similar bill passed with bipartisan support in the Senate.
Many of you know the farm bill as food stamps and farm subsidies. While these are major portions of the bill, often overlooked are the conservation provisions that save millions of acres of wetlands, grasslands, forests, and waterfowl and wildlife habitat. With the failure of the House to move on the farm bill, all of the conservation programs that support these critical habitats will evaporate.
Let me clarify that, like many House legislators, I support major reforms or eliminating the entitlement programs of previous farm bills, but the conservation programs are critical and deserve our immediate attention.
The failure of the House to support the farm bill is disappointing, and while most of my political beliefs are not well aligned with 80-plus percent of the farm bill, action needs to be taken quickly to ensure that the conservation programs endure. Whether they are supported through the farm bill or another piece of legislation, these programs need to be part of our agricultural policy and will shape the American landscape for generations to come.
William F. Marscher IV
Hilton Head Island