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Thune's sodsaver bill would cut crop insurance subsidies on native sod, grasslands

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced legislation Wednesday that seeks to protect native sod and grasslands by cutting crop insurance premium subsidies on those lands.

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced legislation Wednesday that seeks to protect native sod and grasslands by cutting crop insurance premium subsidies on those lands.

Both native sod and land that a producer cannot prove has ever been tilled have reduced production potential for the first few years after being converted to cropland, especially in dry years.

Thune and Klobuchar's legislation would cut the premium subsidy in half on this land and also reduce the maximum allowable indemnity. "This legislation closes

By The Daily Republic a loophole that allows producers to use historical yields from other more productive land on their newly broken ground, a practice called yield substitution," said a release from Thune's office.

"Recently converted cropland is often much less productive than longstanding cropland, and by prohibiting yield substitution for four years, the newly broken ground is insured for more realistic yields."

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The Congressional Budget Office projects that this bill could save taxpayers $200 million over 10 years, and would encourage conservation of grasslands that pheasants, ducks and other wildlife use as a habitat, said the news release from Thune's office.

The legislation is supported by farm and conservation groups including the National Farmers Union, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and the National Wildlife Federation. "This bill in no way prohibits a producer's right to convert sod or longstanding grasslands to cropland," Thune said in a written statement.

"Instead, it simply prevents the less productive converted native sod from being insured the same as land that has been improved and farmed for several years."

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., joined with Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., to introduce similar Protect Our Prairies legislation earlier this year in the House.

Related Topics: JOHN THUNEAGRICULTURE
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