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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If DU can "voice its concerns" with CRP, why can't they do the same for changes in the Clean Water Act? Maybe they did and I missed it?

http://www.outdoornews.com/OUTDOORNEWS/myarticles.asp?P=758762&S=504&PubID=10718

DU calls for balance in fed's proposed CRP rule

By Shawn Perich
Field Editor
Bismarck, N.D. - A USDA proposal to allow haying, grazing, or discing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands one of every three years could be harmful to waterfowl and other ground-nesting birds, warns Ducks Unlimited. The organization voiced its concerns in a recent letter to Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman.
A new CRP sign-up began May 5 and continues through May 30. A total of 39.2 million acres may be set aside in CRP under the provisions of the 2002 federal Farm Bill. If current sign-up fills existing acreage quotas, another sign-up may not be held until 2007.
At pre-sign-up meetings, officials from the USDA's Farm Service Agency, which administers CRP, said the proposed new rule would allow landowners to disturb the set-aside one of every three years, in addition to required disturbance midway through the 10- or 15-year sign-up period. In some years, CRP lands could be opened to emergency haying, too. Ducks Unlimited is concerned the planned changes to CRP are not consistent with wildlife habitat conservation.
Steve Adair, director of conservation programs at DU's Bismarck office, says the frequency of disturbance could diminish nesting cover in the U.S. portion of the Prairie Pothole Region. DU estimates about 40 percent of North America's ducks nest on the U.S. and Canadian prairies, accounting for about 70 percent of the continent's annual waterfowl production.
"Ducks need undisturbed nesting cover," says Adair. "If an area is hayed or grazed in the fall, little residual cover remains for nesting birds in the spring."
DU would like to see the USDA rules allowing states flexibility in the disturbance regimen. In the Southeast and lower Midwest, more frequent disturbance may be appropriate, because abundant precipitation and long growing seasons allow CRP cover to quickly recover. In more arid regions, less disturbance makes more ecological sense.
The proposed rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register within the next several weeks, which will start a 30-day public comment period. DU will voice its concerns when it comments on the proposed rule. The organization is urging conservationists to comment as well.
"We don't think the one-size-fits-all approach is the best option," Adair says.
In addition, DU is suggesting no disturbance be allowed on CRP lands during the primary nesting season, from April 15 to August 1. Disturbance during the nesting season can destroy nests and cause birds to attempt re-nesting in other locations - often with lower quality habitat. Poor brood production could diminish economic opportunities associated with hunting and other wildlife tourism, DU says.
Studies have shown that CRP lands yield high success rates, sometimes tripling the waterfowl production on other habitat.
Scientific data indicates that hayed CRP tracts are much less attractive to breeding waterfowl.
 

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Quack this is basicallly a farm related program with benifits to wildlife. I do not like the idea of proposed haying before July 15th but from personel expericence I will say that haying or burning or grazing done properly will enhance nesting conditions for both waterfowl and upland game. I do respect DU and support them, but I think that it may have been a gut reaction to the heat they have taken for not speaking out on the CWA> We need to keep in mind that they have limited lobbying powers due to the fact they are non-profit.

We all need to remember that this is supported by our voting block in Washington and it is because of the backing of extreme people that support them that the Clean Water Act was challenged in court and the result is new defintions not favorable to waterfowl.

They will support and vote for the farming interest not wildlife. The nest time one of them comes up at election time we need to look at what they fhave done for us not what they say they did or will do.
 

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This is very deep and I will write more later, but in the begginning this was called the Conservation RESERVE Program for a reason. Treatment after years of neglect does improve the habitat, but the rules as written will turn CRP from a Reserve program to a forage supply supplementation program. Let me give you a scenario.

Farmer Jones has 500 cows in the Dakotas. To feed them through the winter he harvests 900 acres of forage crops annually. This includes hay, alfalfa, silage, many things. Said farmer Jones has 350 acres of CRP. Now they will be able to be guaranteed that every year they can hay 1/3 of that acreage. Or 117 acres. Additionally in disaster years he will be able to hay 150 acres without regard to how things have been hayed in the past. So what does farmer jones do??? Does he produce extra hay to sit around and rot through the following year??? No, he removes 120 acres of his alfalfa, or grass hay, or plants less corn silage the next year because CRP is now part of his rotation. Thus approx 100 acres are placed right back into production of commodity products that are so badly needed in the marketplace that the farm bill raised price supports on them.

This is classic bad policy. At the most we should have had a five year rotation, and the emergency should not trump it. If this rule is instituted, CRP will change forever in both impact on wildlife and the perspective of the farmer. It will no longer be a reserve, but a resource. And resources will be used. I was a farmer and have close ties to farms, and we will regret this decision in a number of ways. The horse is out of the barn, now try to put him back.

And to those that will complain about the quality of the hay after July 15, this is not a forage production program, but a conservation program. Never ever forget that.

Hope everyone sends a thank you to Secretary Veneman.
 

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Tsodak you are correct in that it is not a forage base program, however to blame Vennam on this is far from the truth. Dorgan Conrad, Daslhe, Harkin had more of a hand in this legislation than the SEC of Ag did, this needs to be remembered in the NOV elections the next time around.

Management of grass lands for wildlife habitat is not nor shall it ever be a priority of the Dept. of AG or our Wash professonal polictions. The direction and use of CRP in the Dakota's is bought and sold for votes by all of ND and SD elected officals. Read the record see how they vote read what they stand up and say then what they do.
 

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Responsibility (kudos or blame, depending on your perspective) for this feature depends on whether it's a "rule" or whether it's expressly mandated by the '02 legislation. If it's truly a "rule", which the above article insinuates, it means it was adopted administratively by USDA, and responsibility lies with USDA and the Bush administration. If it was directly mandated by the '02 farm bill, responsibility lies with Congressional delegates.

Think of legislation as a skeleton - it sets out only the basics of "law". The administrative agency responsible for administering the law then provides the organs, muscle, and tissue for the law via regulations or rules adopted by it about the law. Once a law is created, Congressional delegates often toss their weight into proposed rules/regulations promulgated under it, but ultimate responsibility lies with the administrative agency, its Secretary, and their boss, the President. Courts then provide the skin for a law, resolving conflicts between legislation and the regulations promulgated under it and interpreting ambiguities in either.

Same-same at state level.
 

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Let me just leave it that everything I have seen and heard to this point points toward poor decisions at the administrative level. The pressure congressionally sounds like it came out of the south, where more aggressive time frames for management are useful. But instead of looking at the biology of the northern plains they simply said what is good there must be here.

But above and beyond that, the CRP when founded was about protecting soil and removing acreage from production. The ever increasing use for Emergency situations and now managed haying and grazing takes what was not a bad deal for the government and turns it into another entitlement to farm for. I have direct family it will benefit, and it still makes me furious.

We started with a good program, and then through good meaning regulations, we are fundamentally damaging it. You will never see CRP as productive again as an economic model or a biological one after this happens. Politics make little or no difference.

This farm bill that Democrats and Republicans passed as "The Conservation Farm Bill" is a joke. And if you think it is going to get better, I hope you are right and I am wrong. Sound to me like the money that would fund Equip or the CSP is probably going to a dividend tax reduction. Yippeeeee. :puke:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Interesting and educational discussion. But can anyone answer the original question? Do the DU bylaws allow them to speak out about CRP policy but not wetland policy or is it just a matter of them picking their battles? I've wondered about this since Tony Dean was critical of them back when the SD corngrowers (?) were trying to get some of the SD wetlands exempted from Swampbuster. It would seem to me that the "leader in wetlands conservation" should be the loudest when it comes to policy about wetlands. If they can't do it because of their non-profit status, why not form a legislative action-wing like the NRA has done with ILA? Or are they afraid to take a stand on certain issues that might not be popular with farmers? Didn't someone say that if Swampbuster is not renewed, the total potential loss of wetland acres will be way in excess of the wetland acres DU has protected since their beginning?

Don't get me wrong-- I support DU and send them a lot of money every year. I just want to know what they are and are not doing with it to protect wetlands and produce ducks.
 

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Quack, I don't know the nuts and bolts of your question, but many NP's lobby, e.g., DLCC, GNDA, BMCC, Dick. VCB and I assume FB. And I recall that when CRP expired a few years back, PF instituted a special and massive fundraiser to allow them to lobby to bring it back. I have a hunch this is more "won't" than "can't" on DU's part.

All of this probably means that you need to split your donations if you wish them to be used for habitat development and habitat protection. I'm not familiar with the IWL and don't know how much they, PF or other organizations dedicate to lobbying activities. Anyone working with those or other organizations with info on what percentages of their revenues go to habitat protection lobbying efforts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't know the percentage breakout but I'm a member of IWL and they were raising money to go to court over the ruling on the Clean Water Act. Maybe they will win and then claim the wetlands preservation leader title from DU.
 
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