Delta Urges President Bush To Honor Promise to Hunters

Discussion in 'Political Action Forum' started by seastreet, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. seastreet

    seastreet Banned

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    Please contact your local congressman, Senator and President Bush to ask that the CRP be continued and not let farmers out of their agreements. The President can only lobby for CRP. It is Congress that must appropriate the funding before the President can sign it. Hold them both accountable.


    Delta Urges President Bush To Honor Promise to Hunters
    February 14, 2007

    Delta Urges President Bush To Honor Promise to Hunters

    BISMARCK, N.D. Recent announcements from the Bush Administration regarding the Conservation Reserve Program could have a devastating impact on ducks and other wildlife, warns Delta Waterfowl President Rob Olson.

    Widely considered one of the most successful conservation programs ever, CRP is reeling from a one-two combination of announcements out of Washington last week. First, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said his agency would offer no new CRP enrollments in 2007 and 2008. On the heels of that announcement, Johanns said the Bush administration may allow farmers to cancel existing CRP contracts to plant corn for ethanol production.

    "Make no mistake, every CRP acre we lose in the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States will mean fewer ducks, pheasants and other game and non-game birds across the continent," said Olson in response to the announcements. "We encourage President Bush to honor his promise to hunters and conservationists to increase CRP acres."

    Olson was referring to a 2004 press conference on a Minnesota farm when Bush met with officials from Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and other conservation organizations and pledged to increase CRP enrollment.

    CRP is a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that reduces soil and water erosion and provides valuable habitat for wildlife by compensating farmers for establishing grass cover on marginal, highly erodible lands under 10- or 15-year contracts.

    Called "Noah's Arc for Wildlife" by the late director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mollie Beattie, CRP was established in 1985 and is credited for the explosion in continental duck numbers during the 1990s, the dramatic 20-year rise in pheasant populations and the restoration of many species of non-game birds.

    Of the 36 million acres currently enrolled in CRP in the lower 48 states, about 28 million are set to expire between 2007 and 2010. Conservationists were openly concerned about CRP's future until President Bush's 2004 announcement that he had instructed the Farm Security Administration to fully enroll CRP at 39.2 million acres. The announcement was hailed as a grand slam for wildlife, conservation and the environment.

    Among the many species of birds and animals that thrive in CRP's undisturbed grass cover, upland-nesting ducks like mallards, pintails, blue-winged teal, gadwalls and shovelers have been among the primary beneficiaries. During the wet cycle of 1990s, populations of those species rebounded from 1980's lows, several reaching record or near-record levels.

    Research conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed that CRP contributed around 2 million birds to the fall flights of ducks each year between 1992 and 2004, and that number doesn't consider the year-to-year population growth when CRP-raised birds return to the breeding grounds in subsequent years.

    "There's no doubt in anyone's mind how important CRP is to North American duck populations," says Olson. "Those big blocks of undisturbed cover are critical for upland-nesting ducks that are so vulnerable to predation in fragmented cover."

    USFWS research also showed that wetlands embedded in CRP lands are more attractive to nesting ducks. Scientists don't yet understand why, but they suspect reduced sedimentation produces higher-quality wetlands. Small wetlands are critical for duck production because they provide essential nutrition for nesting hens.

    CRP is popular with many farmers because it provides emergency livestock forage during droughts. Environmentalists support CRP because it effectively sequesters greenhouse gasses and reduces soil and water erosion.

    "CRP is a win-win policy for farmers, ranchers and wildlife, and provides numerous environmental benefits as well," says Olson.

    In recent months increased demand for corn to produce ethanol has prompted some to call for the release of CRP acres. Olson urges the administration to take a go-slow approach on the corn ethanol front.

    "Farmers have been working for years to create a demand for corn to reduce surpluses and drive up prices," Olson says. "Increasing production would depress corn prices, and that's not in the best interest of our farmers.

    "There are already hundreds of thousands of acres of land scheduled to come out of CRP this fall and those acres, coupled with new high-yielding hybrid seeds, should provide enough corn to meet demand until other technologies like cellulosic ethanol from native grasses can be developed.

    "It would be a mistake to start plowing these fragile soils that aren't well suited to corn production in the first place."

    Editors: For more information, contact Rob Olson at 1-877-667-5656 or John Devney at 1-888-987-3695
     
  2. California Flyway

    California Flyway Elite Refuge Member

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    While you are at it bring up concern for these related program - In addition to CRP - the WHIP and GRP programs also face threats.
    C.B.

    USDA'S PROPOSES THE ELIMINATION OF WILDLIFE

    PROGRAMThe USDA released its 2007 farm bill

    recommendations last week and it's not looking good. At the

    forefront of that proposal is a plan to eliminate the Wildlife Habitat

    Incentives Program (WHIP) and the Grasslands Reserve Program

    (GRP) as independent programs. These programs are key farm bill

    conservation programs that provide farmers and ranchers money to

    protect wildlife and wildlife habitat. This plan would "roll" these

    programs into a larger program, the Environmental Quality

    Incentives Program. (EQIP) The problem with this is that the

    wildlife focus could be lost as EQIP directs its assistance primarily

    to air and water quality and by law must provide 60 percent of its

    assistance to livestock. In fact, it is a major giveaway program to

    the factory animal farm industry. This proposal also rolls the

    Grasslands Protection Program (GRP) into the Farm and Ranchland

    Protection Program creating similar concerns that this program to

    protect vital grasslands might be subsumed by the goals of the

    program it is being rolled into and wildlife and important

    ecosystems will suffer.

    The USDA's conservation title proposal is available at:

    http://www.usda.gov/documents/07title2.pdf
     
  3. seastreet

    seastreet Banned

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    For once CF, I actually agree with you. This is not just a Bush problem, but a congressional one as well. Congress must first appropriate the funds for these critical programs before the President can sign it. There is alot of pressure to release these farmers from their agreements in order to increase corn supplies for ethanol production. It is a hard decision, because each of these issues affects the environment in a positive manner. The breeding grounds MUST be protected and CRP combined with the farm bill are just two of the tools needed to ensure viable waterfowl populations. The Canadian version is called ALUS.
     
  4. Ron Gilmore

    Ron Gilmore Elite Refuge Member

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    Street, please do not try and say that ethanol from corn is good for the environment. It in fact is going to result in lower water quality,air quality and create an equal amount of chemical pollution as using fossil fuels. While the chemicals may not be the same, they are just as caustic and in fact, in regards to ethanol use in cities where smog is a problem or has a higher potential to forum. Ethanol is in fact worse for the production of smog because of the by product it produces when burned.

    I have for years on this site as well as other been trying to get people to understand ethanol for what it is. It is a way for elected officials to buy votes in their states that are Ag producers. It is a way for chemical companies to increase acres of production which in turn means increased markets. If you doubt this look at the amount of money that has been spent by Dupont and others to lower CRP programs in 02

    Theres is a bigger negative impact to the environment than if we drill 100 wells in ANWAR and simply pumped the oil on the ground for the next ten years if we loose CRP.
     
  5. seastreet

    seastreet Banned

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    Ron... I'm not trying to avoid you, but I am really busy this weekend. My nine year old has a cub scout pinewood car derby this morning follwed by Upward basketball game this afternoon. Tomorrow, I will be fishing for stripers. I will answer your query by Sunday night or Monday.
     
  6. seastreet

    seastreet Banned

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    Ron...

    Not that I'm trying to dismiss what you are saying, but please explain further. Ethanol burns really clean compared to fossil fuels, so I'm not sure where you are coming from. I personally hope they will use switchgrass more in the breeding regions. Much more beneficial to waterfowl and equally useful in production.

    I still want Bush & Congress to maintain the CRP, but look at crops like switchgrass rather than corn.
     
  7. Ron Gilmore

    Ron Gilmore Elite Refuge Member

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    Sea it burns with less CO2, but it has almost 4 times the rate of other contaminates that are the prime source of causing smog, and when you factor in the other pollution that comes from growing corn, it becomes a wash or even a bigger contributor of pollution to the environment depending upon the area it is grown in.

    Once again it is all about the big picture and not the micro snippet that the farm politicians and supporters of ethanol feed us. I know it creates jobs,but so does drilling for oil. I know it has raised the price of corn, but cash rent for example increases as well so profits for the farmer really did not go up!

    Now couple the pollution being equal but of a different type and then add the amount of carbons that do not get removed from the air when grasslands are converted to corn and it no longer can be given the GREEN STAMP!

    Kind of like taxing of profits for a corporation. You tax they move to places that do not, or simply refrain from investing in new equipment or labor to boost profits.
     
  8. seastreet

    seastreet Banned

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    How about switchgrass? I know for a fact that Sao Paulo, Brazil uses ethanol made from sugar cane and their smog level has been reduced by half in the last 5 years. I can see the corn argument, but as I said, switchgrass is a much better alternative source, not to mention, good for the breeding grounds.

    I find it refreshing to have an intelligent conversation for once without getting politically nasty. :dv
     
  9. Ron Gilmore

    Ron Gilmore Elite Refuge Member

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    Sea, you should do a bit of looking at that area in Brazil, much of the reduction in smog came in large part from other measures to improve air quality. All I ask of anyone is to really understand that grain ethanol is not a plus for the environment, is not going to reduce importation of oil. That is why I do not support continued subsidy of this product with tariffs on imported ethanol and the destruction of grass lands that are so vital to clean air and clean water. Having habitat for wildlife is a bonus, but not the most important factor in keeping CRP in place and expanding it.
     
  10. greatdogs

    greatdogs Senior Refuge Member

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    Morning Ron,
    I agree that grain based ethanol is not a plus for the environment. But I think the decisions have already been made to go with corn.

    A while back on the Minnesota Forum we talked about using switchgrass and hemp as sources for alternative fuels and such. I looked into putting switchgrass (though I would rather grow hemp) in and got some sources for seed. The problem arises with the harvested switchgrass. We in MN are building the corn processing plants and the only facility to process grass that I am aware of is now in the planning stages to be built on one of the Indian Reservations in the state. Probably be at least a couple years before it would be on line.

    There is just so much money to be made for Big Ag Corporations on corn being used versus perennial crops. Plain and simple.

    On a lighter note. Don't worry about that CRP being planted into corn. We have got all those golf course water hazard wetlands to hunt in now! :sp

    Have a great day!
     

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