For the last 48 hours, nearly every major U.S. sportsmen’s group has been testifying before the U.S. House and Senate agriculture subcommittees, lobbying for the inclusion of conservation provisions in the 2012 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is a behemoth piece of legislation, but many believe it’s the most important conservation bill on the books–namely because the existence of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) depends on it. According to Delta Waterfowl, CRP produces about 15 million pheasants and 2.2 million ducks each year.
Fortunately the bill made it out of both subcommittees with strong bi-partisan support and now moves on to the full Senate and House of Representatives for voting.
“CRP is the workhorse of American conservation policy, and it would be both shortsighted and irresponsible to let this program fail simply for temporary gains, which is exactly what will happen if we do not collectively move towards a strengthened conservation measure in the 2012 Farm Bill,” notes Dave Nomsen, vice president of government affairs for Pheasants Forever, “Now is not the time to dispute what we already know to be obvious, now is the time to act and ensure our nation’s conservation future.”
What should be sportsmen’s top priorities for the latest Farm Bill iteration? We posed that question to Pheasants Forever, which was instrumental in the authorization of the first modern Farm Bill in 1985. Here’s the group’s top five priorities, plus its argument for their inclusion:
1. Reauthorize CRPWith about 9 million acres of land set to expire over the next two years, Congress must reauthorize CRP to mitigate massive habitat loss, and work toward rebuilding into the future.
What’s your take on the provisions endorsed by Pheasants Forever? Which is most important? Is there one you would add?