Sportsmen Should Support A Strong Farm Bill

September 30th is my 38th birthday. Its also the day the current Farm Bill expires. Now, there’s a lot of reasons to try and push your local Congressman to vote to get the bill done. I like the fact that the Farm Bill also supports the SNAP program which ensures struggling Americans can feed their families. Sadly, the Senate version of the bill cuts SNAP funding (wow they’re heartless), but that’s not all that’s at stake. The Farm Bill also helps maintain billions in funding for environmental conservation. This ain’t just the hippie in me talking–its my inner businessman who understands our nation’s farmers, ranchers and private landowners also have a stake in protecting the environment for their employees, customers and bottomline.

“In places like the Chesapeake Bay and in Montana and Wyoming, Farm Bill programs help farmers reduce their potential regulatory burden. The Chesapeake Bay watershed initiative incentivizes farmers to reduce their nitrogen runoff to improve the health of the nation’s largest estuary, and the sage grouse initiative in the Inter-Mountain West assists ranchers in keeping this iconic bird off the endangered species list. As these conservation goals are met, farmers, ranchers and landowners can focus on making a living and not on the threat of new or expanding regulations,” according to the TRCP.

Here, if you won’t listen to me…how about Steven Rinella?

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Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

I recently learned about the work of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) through one my favorite author/outdoorsman, Steven Rinella. Perusing the MeatEater website I saw the videos Rinella did in partnership with TRCP “Conservation Field Notes.”  You can view them here. They are well-shot, impassioned and detailed. TRCP’s mission “Guaranteeing you a place to hunt and fish” aligns tightly on public policy that will effect our rights as anglers and hunters in an increasingly contentious, anti-environment government. I feel strongly that the Obama administration and Congress isn’t doing nearly enough in this area to protect what I think are inalienable public access rights being chewed-up by the 1%. Nor are they looking long-term at the environmental benefits inherent in protecting access.

The TRCP has also created a short series called TRCP’s Native Trout Adventures. Joel Webster, Director of TRCP Center for Western Lands travels across the west fishing native trout fisheries with policymakers, environmentalists, and fish and game officials to shine a light on how precious and varied our native trout is. Along with some beautiful fly fishing, the webisodes explain the various initiatives the TRCP is involved in to protect and restore native trout populations. I had never even heard of the Redband trout or that there was a species of sea-run cut-throat. I was particularly thrilled to learn about the Roadless Areas initiative which keeps development in check in crucial habitat. And thrilled to learn that I could help by supporting the TRCP. I’m now pondering a serious cross-country, multi-year trip to fish for every last one of America’s native trout.