Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune sent a letter on Monday to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Agriculture Committees, and the other 58 Members of the Farm Bill Conference Committee urging them to adopt the Senate's version of the "sodsaver" provision in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Thune said in his letter, "during the past decade prairie grassland conversion has transitioned from `breaking out' fertile prairie land with a high potential to successfully grow commodity crops to `sodbusting' marginal and fragile prairie land that has very poor prospects of successfully growing a crop in successive years. Both the Senate and House Farm Bills include provisions known as `sodsaver,' which address the problem of federal incentives that encourage the conversion of native prairie land to cropland. However, the Senate sodsaver language more effectively addresses this problem."

The Senate sodsaver provision denies federally subsidized crop insurance and crop disaster program eligibility for non insurable crops on native prairie land that has never been cropped that is converted to cropland.

"America's remaining native grasslands are one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, and they are critical to the livelihoods of our nation's traditional ranching families. The Senate sodsaver provision takes away federal subsidies to those who plow under native prairies; it does not prohibit landowners from breaking up grassland."

The Senate sodsaver provision is widely supported by conservation groups and Senators in both parties.