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Trout Unlimited CEO: Your stake in the farm bill

BY CHRIS WOOD Published: September 22, 2012
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Repeat these stories hundreds of times — across millions of acres and thousands of streams and watersheds — and you get some idea of the impact of farm bill conservation programs.

Today, we need these programs more than ever to upgrade our nation's aging dams and leaky irrigation infrastructure, which often damage watershed health, degrade aquatic habitat and impact our fishing. In these tough economic times, these projects create high-paying jobs and help support the nation's multibillion dollar recreation economy as well as rural communities.

Unfortunately, these great conservation advances are in danger of being lost. The leadership of the House of Representatives has failed to make this crucial legislation a priority. Without immediate action, the farm bill will expire on Sept. 30.

Yes, this is an election year, but that's no excuse for the House to let hundreds of worthy projects and billions of dollars' worth of economic activity literally wither on the vine. These programs work — for ranchers and farmers, for rural communities, for anglers and hunters, for all Americans who care about reviving our economy and keeping our lakes, wetlands and rivers and streams healthy.

Wood is president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, a cold-water conservation organization.