Public Input Sought on Future of CRP 112404
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency is seeking public input regarding the future of the highly successful Conservation Reserve Program. The deadline for providing written comments is Dec. 8, 2004.
According to Greg Link, assistant wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, it is essential that hunters and wildlife enthusiasts get involved and take this opportunity to provide their views on the future of CRP. "North Dakota's deer population is at record highs, pheasant numbers rival the boom years of the 1940s, and waterfowl fall flights continue to hold well over the long-term average," Link said. "It's easy for our hunting public to connect the dots and see that CRP is a big reason why wildlife populations have been increasing or holding steady."
The 3.35 million acres of CRP in North Dakota have carried their weight in providing bountiful wildlife habitat, Link said, as well as delivering other significant environmental benefits, such as improved water quality and reduced wind and soil erosion. "Wildlife enthusiasts must be careful not to take the nation's most successful conservation program and its critical habitat base for granted," Link said.
As of 2007, 1.7 million - or more than half - of the state's CRP acreage is due to expire, and another million in the following two years. Nationwide, the scenario is quite similar. Between September 30, 2007, and through 2010, CRP contracts for more than 28.7 million acres are scheduled to expire.
According to announcements made in August, the Bush administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are committed to full enrollment of CRP up to the authorized level of 39.2 million acres. To ensure that the environmental benefits of CRP continue, and because of the significant acreage expirations beginning in 2007, USDA will offer early re-enrollments and extensions of existing contracts to current CRP participants.
The expected contract expirations and re-enrollment or replacement of the expiring acreage represent a management challenge concerning: (1) CRP environmental objectives; (2) USDA staffing needs; and (3) technical service provider resources.
To help address these challenges and determine how best to proceed, the Commodity Credit Corporation invites interested persons to submit comments on this issue. The preferred manner to submit comments is via the internet at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/crpcomments/. However, comments may also be submitted by email at CRPRULE.CRPRULE@wdc.usda.gov; or by writing to: Director, Conservation and Environmental Programs Division, Farm Service Agency, Room 4714-S, Stop 0513, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-0513.
Please take 5 minutes of your time to write them that you support CRP. CRP is across the US so ALL hunters in the US benefit from it and will ensure that ducks will be in the sky for years to come. Please write them a brief note of support and make sure you include your full name and addy.