Jul 18 2012
Highlights Support of Conservation & Sportsmen Groups in Opening Acres up Now
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Kristi Noem spoke with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to urge him to immediately open up Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for haying and grazing. Earlier, the USDA said it would delay opening acres until after August 2nd, which is the end of primary nesting season for birds and other wildlife. Rep. Noem called the Secretary to highlight the support of sportsmen and conservation groups in opening up CRP acres before August 2nd.
“South Dakotans need these acres open today, not two weeks from today,” said Rep. Noem. “I saw the devastation that is already taking place in South Dakota firsthand this past weekend. Water supplies are dwindling and grasshoppers are quickly destroying feed supplies throughout South Dakota. Waiting until August 2nd is simply not an option. I am glad to have the support of these groups and impressed on Secretary Vilsack the immediate need to open up CRP acres.
Today’s phone conversation with Secretary Vilsack was a follow-up to the letter Rep. Noem sent last week requesting the Secretary open up CRP acres for haying and grazing.
Ducks Unlimited (DU), Pheasants Forever and the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) all expressed their support for opening up CRP acres prior to August 2nd.
"Ducks Unlimited wants a CRP program that can be flexible enough to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers as well as nesting waterfowl," said Gary Taylor, Director of Governmental Affairs for DU. "With substantiation that the nesting season is drawing to a close and drought conditions worsening, allowing haying and grazing immediately makes sense for our ranchers and for wildlife."
“The beauty of CRP is its ability to work in harmony with any landowner’s operation,” explained Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “Given the drought conditions currently stressing America’s farmers, ranchers and grasslands, coupled with this being the tail end of the nesting season after a very early spring, we don’t see any reason to delay the release of these CRP acres for this emergency. Keeping CRP flexible for scenarios like this ensures the program’s long term viability.”
“NACD supports multiple use land management, which includes a robust CRP program. In disaster drought times, it makes sense to pursue Rep. Noem's request for emergency haying and grazing," said John Larson, CEO of NACD.