Senator Chambliss Honored for Farm Bill Conservation Leadership


“Senator Chambliss’ leadership on this issue has been critical to protect our natural resources and Georgia taxpayers’ wallets.”

chamblissWashington, DC (May 8, 2013) – Georgia Wildlife Federation, the state’s oldest and largest conservation organization, and National Wildlife Federation, the nation’s largest conservation organization, today recognized U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) in his Capitol Hill office with an award for his leadership in promoting natural resource conservation in the Farm Bill. Presenting the award were Todd Holbrook, president and CEO of Georgia Wildlife Federation and Matt Nichols, chairman of GWF, with Jim Lyon, vice president for Conservation Policy for National Wildlife Federation.

In presenting the award, Holbrook cited Senator Chambliss’ leadership in last year’s Farm Bill floor debate, when the Senator successfully sponsored an amendment to re-attach basic natural resource protections to crop insurance premium subsidies. The protections—called conservation compliance—require subsidy recipients to forgo draining wetlands (Swampbuster) or farming highly erodible lands without a soil conservation plan (Sodbuster).

“Senator Chambliss’ leadership on this issue has been critical to protect our natural resources and Georgia taxpayers’ wallets,” said Holbrook.

Crop insurance subsidies are expected to cost more than $94 billion over the next 10 years.

Conservation compliance saves money and is critical for reducing soil erosion, protecting wetlands, reducing downstream flooding risk, and decreasing nutrient pollution into rivers, lakes and streams.

Swampbuster has been the primary deterrent to wetland drainage in the nation’s prairie potholes region, an area critical to duck production. But the incentive for compliance is diminishing. Direct (commodity) payments are being targeted for elimination in the next Farm Bill, and other elements of the commodity title are unlikely to deter Swampbuster violations because crop prices are so high that most of these elements do not pay any benefits.

“National Wildlife Federation recognizes Senator Chambliss for stepping up to ensure abundant wildlife and important habitat continue to be in balance with working landscapes,” said Lyon.   ###

Todd Holbrook, President
Georgia Wildlife Federation