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Farm Bill changes give Sportsmen greater access to hunting and fishing

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Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced some changes to the long awaited Farm Bill. Conservation programs that are to enhance hunting and fishing adjusting access to privately owned lands.

The Agricultural Conservation Easements Programs

ACEP, targeting grasslands and wetlands, it does address core issues, and the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program or VPA-HIP are giving as much as $386 million to restore wetlands, conserve working farm land and to boost the economy of fishing and hunting.

Does that serve to protect the wetlands from further destruction and development? Only further deciphering of the Farm Bill and time will tell us exactly what that means. It sounds like it means the dollars spent to fish and hunt are going to be spread out even thinner to cover more areas. Let’s hope not. The Farm Bill is not going to make everyone happy, but it's a step in the right direction as a people to take care of what we have been given.

Risk management

According to the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, “it’s a hallmark concept, with Jim Range as one of its principle founders.” Known as “Open Fields,” the program is offering landowners more money by way of an incentive program, to open public lands for hunting, angling and recreation. Are these public lands, land that is protected and would continue to be or does this open them up for construction?

The idea is to help tribal governments and states improve already existing programs

$86 billion is put into the US economy each year thanks to hunting and fishing, not to mention 1.5 million jobs. Hunting, fishing and sportsmen in general add $646 billion in consumer spending thanks to the outdoor enthusiast in all directions and the spending that goes toward outdoor activities.

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the NOAA, these two groups are responsible for putting into place the Endangered Species Act. Two new rules were proposed in an effort to make the act of taking care “Critical Habitat,” which would be areas designated habitat for species that may be endangered, by making it more predictable and efficient. Because we all know the way the fishing or not to fish here, there and everywhere was taken care of was inefficient and flawed.

The policy describes different kinds of impact that will be taken into consideration, conservation agreements, national security, and economic consideration, designed to reduce the stress and litigation of making critical choices for species that may be decreasing in numbers.

In short, valuable lessons have been learned from the past decade, and amendments have been made to keep Americans fishing and hunting.

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