Years of political fighting and fingerpointing seemingly came to an end Tuesday when the Senate passed a five-year farm bill. The huge bill will strengthen the crop insurance program, eliminate direct payments, and keep nutrition programs strong for those who rely on them, and, on a topic that doesn't grab too much attention, it will also benefit outdoor advocates and habitat that is so crucial to Minnesota's way of life.
The new farm bill, pending President Barack Obama's signature, includes a key agreement that will require farmers to take part in conservation compliance practices in order to receive federal crop insurance benefits.
Also, the Sodsaver Provision will encourage farmers to protect prairie habitats and grasslands that are important habitat for wildlife.
Another thing the new farm bill would support is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program; at least 5 percent of the program funding is directed to projects that support wildlife habitat.
These are just a few of the reasons anyone who loves the outdoors and appreciates their Minnesota surroundings should be thrilled about the new farm bill. It might have taken some time to get it done, but Congress finally was able to prove it can work together and put legislation together that can benefit many.