Sodsaver Bill Introduced in Senate

Last week, Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Amy Klobuchar lead a bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation that would modify crop insurance premium subsidies for insured crops grown on native sod converted to cropland.

The Senate Sodsaver bill prohibits federal commodity payments on newly broken native sod, and it reduces the federal subsidy for crop and revenue insurance by fifty percent on native grass and prairie lands. It also requires that newly broken sod be isolated from other crop acres when calculating insurable yields, and operators would be required to take a percentage of the county average yield for any newly broken native sod until they are able to show a multi-year yield history.

The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Mike Johanns (R-NE). And according to the Congressional Budget Office, this legislation could save taxpayers $200 million over 10 years, encourage conservation of grasslands that pheasants, ducks, and other wildlife use as a habitat, and help level the playing field for producers who need access to grazing land.

The Center for Rural Affairs applauds Senators Thune, Johanns, Bennet, Klobuchar, Brown and Harkin for introducing this crucial, common-sense legislation to preserve grazing land, protect hunting opportunities and conserve vital soil resources. Last year’s Senate Farm Bill included a nationwide “Sodsaver” provision and we urge the Senate Agriculture Committee to include this legislation in the Farm Bill that they will begin writing and debating in coming weeks.