Lawmakers Starve Conservation Programs That Benefit Farmers and Wildlife
Programs that benefit wildlife and wildlife habitat are severely cut in the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill.
The Senate voted to slash more than $700 million dollars from conservation programs that help farmers, ranchers and foresters, as well as soil, water and wildlife. These steep cuts in the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill target crucial and effective programs that are already oversubscribed with a long waiting list of farmers wanting to implement conservation practices.
“You reap what you sow, and the agriculture funding bill will be a bitter harvest for farmers, ranchers and wildlife,” said Aviva Glaser, agriculture policy coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation.
Programs that benefit wildlife and wildlife habitat are severely reduced in the appropriations bill. The legislation slices funding in half for the Grasslands Reserve Program, a popular and underfunded program that helps farmers and ranchers protect and restore some of America’s last remaining native grasslands. This bill also guts funding by 41 percent for the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, which helps landowners create wildlife habitat on working landscapes. The National Wildlife Federation is particularly outraged that this legislation completely zeroes out the Voluntary Public Access Program, which encourages farmers to make their land accessible to the public for hunting, fishing and other wildlife-based recreational opportunities.
“Healthy soil, healthy water and healthy wildlife populations add economic value to communities and their quality of life,” Glaser said. “By disproportionately targeting conservation and wildlife programs, lawmakers are shortchanging wildlife and rural communities.”
Grassland Reserve Program
The Grassland Reserve Program
(GRP) is a voluntary program that enables landowners to restore or protect native grasslands on portions of their property through long term or permanent easements.