Congressional report shows need for farm bill Sodsaver provi

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Congressional report shows need for farm bill Sodsaver provi

Postby biodukmc » Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:37 am

Congressional report shows need for farm bill Sodsaver provision

Report links farm payments and grassland loss

http://www.ducks.org/news/1377/Congr...alreports.html

BISMARCK, ND, Sept. 18, 2007 – U.S. taxpayers are paying for the destruction of native prairie grasslands. A Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday links farm program payments to the loss of prairie grasslands.

“The report further confirms our findings that native prairie destruction is rapidly increasing,” said DU Executive Vice President Don Young. “Unfortunately, taxpayer funded farm program payments are fueling this ecological disaster.”

Ducks Unlimited says the report justifies the need for the U.S. Senate to include a strong Sodsaver provision in the next farm bill to slow grassland loss.

DU supports a Sodsaver provision in the new farm bill. It would remove all federal financial support on any land that doesn’t have a cropping history. Farmers could still put the land into production but at their own risk.

Loss rates of grasslands in the Prairie Pothole Region are about four times the rate of conversion of rainforest in the Amazon region of South America. The area hatches more ducks than anywhere in the world.

The GAO prepared “Impact of USDA Payments and Sodbuster on Grassland Conversions to Cropland,” for Senate and House committees working on the new farm bill.

The report says farm program payments contribute to grassland loss, because “. . . they reduce producers’ financial risks and, in many cases, increase producers’ profits over maintaining grassland.”

The study found that farm program payments are twice as high per acre in South Dakota counties with high rates of native grassland conversion.
“These are drought-prone areas,” said Scott Stephens, DU’s director of conservation planning for the Great Plains Regional Office. “Crop failures are the norm rather than the exception. That grass is much more valuable for ranchers, wildlife and protecting soil and water quality.

“DU’s farm bill slogan is ‘Farm the best, conserve the rest.’ Price supports and crop insurance are necessary on high quality croplands,” Stephens said. “However, most of the native grasslands left would make poor cropland. It makes no sense – and the report agrees – for taxpayers to fund growing crops on these lands.”

DU research identified the loss of native prairie grasslands as a critical issue affecting waterfowl and other wildlife.

Young says there’s a clear need for the Sodsaver provision to protect the remaining native prairie in the Prairie Pothole Region.

“This study claims that present grassland protection programs aren’t working,” Young said.

DU President Bruce Lewis says hunters and others who care about the outdoors should push for a conservation-friendly farm bill.

“We are asking everyone to contact their senators, and ask that a strong Sodsaver provision be included in the new farm bill,” Lewis said.

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.

MEDIA STORY RESEARCH ALERT:

For more information contact:
Becky Jones Mahlum
DU Manager of Communications
Great Plains Regional Office
701-355-3507
bjonesmahlum@ducks.org

Jennifer Kross
DU Communications Biologist
Great Plains Regional Office
701-202-8896
jkross@ducks.org

http://www.ducks.org/whysodsavermatters

http://www.ducks.org/Sodsaver

Six minute video - http://www.ducks.org/SodsaverDVD

For a copy of the GAO report, click here, or log on to: www.ducks.org/GAOconversionreportSept07
biodukmc
hunter
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:26 pm


Postby biodukmc » Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:39 am

As reported in the release above, loss rates of grasslands in the Prairie Pothole Region are about four times the rate of conversion of rainforest in the Amazon region of South America. As you know, the PPR hatches more ducks than anywhere in the world. As an example of these very current losses, look at the 2007 “new breakings” numbers for ND of land without a previous cropping history converted to cropland. I’m checking about the SD and MT numbers. When I get those I’ll pass them on. As you may have seen from my blog last week “South Dakota burning” http://www.ducks.org/blogs/1/133/index.html grassland habitat is disappearing rapidly in those states as well.

The lowlights for North Dakota include:


Total new breakings statewide: 20,088 acres

Total new breakings PPR: 14,313 acres

Total new breakings priority counties which include Burke, Kidder, Logan, McIntosh, Mountrail, Sheridan, Stutsman, Ward: 6,305 acres

The county with the highest total this year was Mountrail with 2162 acres of new breakings; not good.

Please help us get the word out on this important issue to waterfowl. For more background information see our website section on the Farm Bill http://www.ducks.org/farmbill/ and Sodsaver http://www.ducks.org/Conservation/Fa...rograms.html#3

DU Sodsaver video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQfP3CumQ48

Sodsaver White Paper: http://www.ducks.org/media/Conservat...ver3142006.pdf

Thanks for your support of the ducks.

Good hunting!

Mike
biodukmc
hunter
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:26 pm


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