WASHINGTON, D.C – Senate Democrats, led by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), Chair of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, hosted a meeting with a dozen sportsmen and conservation groups. The discussion focused on the re-authorization of the Farm Bill, the Sportsmen’s Act, and ensuring the vitality of our nation’s natural resources for future generations.
Following bipartisan approval of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 by the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senate Democrats highlighted the bill’s efforts to expand public access to private lands and protect land, water, and wildlife. Conservation advocates in attendance applauded passage of the bill and its immediate consideration by the full Senate.
“Today’s discussion showcased the critical importance of passing the Farm Bill and enacting common sense conservation practices to support our farmers, wildlife, and the hunting and fishing industry,” said Sen. Begich. “With so many proud sportsmen back home in Alaska, it was a pleasure to host sportsmen and conservationists from around the country to highlight the critical contributions they make to our economy.”.
America’s outdoor enthusiasts are an integral component to the country’s economic engine. From 2006 to 2011, hunting was up 9 percent while fishing increased 11 percent. Sportsmen spent more than $89.8 billion on equipment, trip expenses, licenses, fees and other miscellaneous goods. Senate Democrats will continue to work to reauthorize and expand important provisions to strengthen successful conversation programs that restore critical land, support partnerships to conserve wildlife habitat, and promote outdoor recreation.
“Conservation funding is in a crisis in this country,” said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The amount has fallen from 2.5% of the budget in the 1970s to only 1.2% today. Every dollar spent by the federal government is multiplied to be more effective due to state funds, non-profit fundraising and numerous volunteers. The federal government must lead the way, and I applaud Senate Democrats for hosting this critical discussion with so many diverse voices at the table.”
Photos from today’s meeting can be found here
About the Senate Democratic Steering & Outreach Committee
The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee facilitates an ongoing conversation between Senate Democrats and the American public. At the direction of the Chairman, the Committee seeks to inform, engage, and mobilize advocacy groups and constituencies to advance the policies and priorities of the Senate Democratic Caucus. The Committee is dedicated to ensuring that diverse communities have a voice within the Democratic Caucus on key issues facing our nation. The Committee is one of two Democratic Leadership Committees in the Senate. Senator Mark Begich (Alaska) serves as Chairman of the Committee and vice chaired by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH).