SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO.com) -- Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds are part of a bipartisan effort pushing the federal government to prioritize land conservation.
A group of 17 senators criticized Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a letter for not giving landowners a chance to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the country's largest land conservation program. The program relies on landowners volunteering land to be set aside for non-farming purposes, like wildlife habitat.
The group criticized the U.S. Department of Agriculture for not opening up sign-ups for land since 2017. The senators said they were concerned the decision "will decrease landowner interest in CRP and the effectiveness of the program."
Thune and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar led the group, which featured eight Republicans and nine Democrats.