Image credit:J Laumer
It would seem so, given that these groups want to cut the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) by almost 90%.
Farm acres in 'reserve' (another shorthand for the CRP) are typically steep and vulnerable to erosion or low and vulnerable to seasonal inundation - the latter meaning they are wetlands, or bordering on wetlands - or they may be part of grassed waterway network setup to slow overland flow, save soil, and improve water quality in adjacent rivers. There are multiple benefits to CRP. Soil stays on the land instead of worsening the Gulf Dead Zone. Peak flood flows in streams are reduced, so folks need less federal flood aid. Runoff is kept clear and clean. Fishermen and boaters like that. For hunters, however, the most important benefit is that CRP lands provide a place for game birds like pheasants and grouse to nest and raise their broods. Without protected brood lands in spring, they perish. The Teap'rs and Heritage want effectively to end the CRP, as indicated by their public statements: cited below.Here's the Heritage Foundation's position, as cited in the Journal-Sentinel story, Budget cuts could threaten federal land conservation program.
Nationwide there are 40 million acres in the Conservation Reserve Program.
"That's the equivalent of idling every farm in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana," said Brian Riedl, a research fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.
"I would like to see the CRP phased out," Riedl said, adding that government should not pay farmers to take care of their land.
Tea Party spokesman has this to say...similar tone and intentions.
The conclusions of conservation groups should not be automatically accepted, said Christina Botteri, a media contact for the National Tea Party Federation.
"Personally, I reject the premise that measures put in place by well-meaning environmentalists are at all necessary, warranted or beneficial," Botteri said.
I wonder if the NRA has the guts to stand up in opposition to this anti-conservation nonsense? (If NRA board members want to sell more guns and ammo, it's in their own market-protecting interest to do so.)
Are corn-belt state governors willing to forgo all the revenue their states gain each fall from out-of-state hunters buying licenses, staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, and buying supplies? Think Cabellas and Gander Mountain and BassPro, or Sportsmens' Guide. These economic interests better stand up and be heard or it may soon be too late.
Speaking of balancing economic interests, potential motives for cutting the CRP to nothing, outside of the bogus budget balancing notions floated are as follows: selling more fertilizer, fuel, pesticides, seeds, grain future trading profits, and a few more bucks for each farmer. Earl Butz all over again.
If you're interested in this struggle, I suggest you do four things.
- First, read the Journal-Sentinel article in full: here.
- Second, read my background post: When Food Is High, Corn Gets Political & The Crazy Get Going
- Third, check out your local sportsman's club. Every rural population center has one, which you can find listed on the web. See if you can get a conversation started about conservation. And no complaining about guns. United we stand.
- Fourth, if you live outside the city, ask your county ag agent if he can set you up with a tour of local lands currently in Conservation Reserve. I think you'll get the picture.
The whiskey or the pheasant?
When my Pa was teaching us to hunt a big part of the learning was being respectful of the land owner. 'Always ask first and make sure to talk to both the man and the woman.' If it was pheasant we were after he'd offer to share our 'bag' with the land owners.
On one trip I remember, we only got one pheasant between us and I was reluctant to see him give it to them when our day was done. (Thinking about dinner.)
Dad kept a bottle of cheap whiskey in the trunk as a backup gift. When we knocked on the farmhouse door after our hunt, he held up both the bottle and the bird and offered for them to make a choice.
Which one do you go for: cheap whiskey or pheasant?