May 17, 2023 (Washington, DC) – Yesterday, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) organized and led a Farm Bill Fly-In that brought together key members of Congress and like-minded advocacy partners to discuss their priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill. Joining CSF leaders on Capitol Hill were representatives from the American Sportfishing Association, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, Ducks Unlimited, the Federal Forest Resource Coalition, the National Alliance of Forest Owners, the National Deer Association, the National Wildlife Federation, Pheasants/Quail Forever, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy and The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. CSF, as one of the foremost groups focused on safeguarding and promoting hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and trapping, ensures that the concerns of sportsmen and women are heard in the Nation’s Capital and that science-based conservation policies are implemented through their work with the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC).
The objective of the Fly-In was to demonstrate that, while each organization has its own specific priorities, the sporting-conservation community is aligned in support of robust investments in the Conservation and Forestry Titles of the Farm Bill. These investments benefit the sustainability, resilience, and profitability of the nation’s farm, ranch, and forest landowners and rural economies. The priorities were also designed to complement, rather than compete with, the nation’s agricultural production. Finally, meetings with leading CSC legislators and committees demonstrated the depth and breadth of expertise possessed within the sporting conservation community, collectively representing a resource that will stimulate further conversations as Members of Congress draft the 2023 Farm Bill.
"We were proud to host the 2023 Farm Bill Fly-In and to bring together such an expansive group of conservation partners to advocate for necessary funding in the Conservation and Forestry titles of the Farm Bill," said Jeff Crane, CSF President and CEO." I’d like to thank the members of the House Agriculture Committee, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, and the leaders of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and their staffs who took time out of their busy schedules to meet with our groups to discuss this critical conservation issue. The Farm Bill is our nation’s single largest investment in conservation on private lands, yet it impacts all Americans, whether they be landowners or not. We believe that our priorities align with the nation's agricultural production, and we know that our community's expertise will make a meaningful contribution to the drafting of the Farm Bill."
In addition to one-on-one meetings, CSF hosted the Farm Bill & Conservation Lunch Panel in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Sponsored by Ducks Unlimited and The Conservation Fund, the panel featured comments from key congressional staff members regarding the status of the 2023 Farm Bill and talks from CSF’s Senior Director of Fisheries Policy Chris Horton, Pheasants Forever’s Director of Government Affairs Jim Inglis, Ducks Unlimited’s Manager of Agriculture and Sustainability Julia Peebles, National Alliance of Forest Owners’ Vice President of Government Relations Deon Nelson, and The Conservation Fund’s Associate Director of Government Relations Stacia Stanek.
The day concluded with a reception sponsored by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Ducks Unlimited at the historic Hart Senate Office Building. During the reception, remarks were given by CSC Vice-Chair Sen. Marshall (KS), CSC Co-Chair Rep. Panetta (CA), and Senate Agriculture Committee Chair and CSC Member Sen. Stabenow (MI).
CSF’s 2023 Farm Bill Fly-In proved to be a successful event that demonstrated the alignment of various stakeholders within the sporting conservation community in regard to Farm Bill priorities. As the backbone for conservation funding in the nation, America’s 55 million sportsmen and women have earned a seat at the table, and events such as this give them a voice in the nation’s highest governing body. For more information regarding Farm Bill priorities, please visit this link.