Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever testified today before the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry regarding important provisions for the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill debate. Dave Nomsen, the organization’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs, appeared for the fourth time in his career in front of the Congressional committee to represent the views of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s 149,000 members, including a recommendation to raise the acreage cap of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to a minimum of 40 million acres.
“As part of the Farm Bill, the Conservation Reserve Program remains the most successful private lands conservation platform in the history of the United States,” stated Nomsen. “Not only is this program critical to future wildlife populations including upland birds, pollinators and other wildlife, but it also serves a function of economic support for rural communities when they need it most. It is vitally important to raise the national acreage cap for CRP to support wildlife, upland hunters, and the nation’s farming and ranching communities in 2018.”
Pheasants Forever’s 2018 Farm Bill Recommendations for CRP
- A 40 Million-Acre Conservation Reserve Program – The last Farm Bill lowered the nationwide CRP acreage cap to 24 million acres. The result has been confining for producers looking for options and disastrous for upland wildlife. Pheasants Forever, supports raising the CRP acreage cap to a minimum of 40 million acres to address substantial demands for voluntary soil, water, and wildlife habitat improvement projects.
- Modernize CRP Application & Signup Processes – Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever would like to see CRP return to its roots as a landscape level program offering multiple benefits on working farms and ranches. Future signups should target larger blocks of habitat with the most impact for wildlife populations and soil health over the long-term.
- Dynamic CRP Transition Strategies for Expiring Contracts – Working lands have been and will continue to be an important component of CRP. To that end, Pheasants Forever supports future provisions that encourage long-term resource protection for expiring contracts, including permanent options for selected tracts, which would support working lands for farmers and ranchers including grazing, cover crops, organics, and other ag production systems.
From 1990-2010, CRP enrollment averaged between 32-33 million acres annually with a historical peak of 36.7 million acres in 2007. This historical peak has a direct correlation to modern day highs for pheasant, quail and upland bird harvest in multiple states. “Whether measured by success afield by hunters, water quality improved for all, or economical support of rural communities, a robust CRP program of 40 million acres is both needed and sought after across the country,” added Nomsen.
For more information about today’s Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry hearing, please contact Dave Nomsen at (605) 864-8138 or DNomsen@Pheasantsforever.org
. For all other inquiries, please contact Jared Wiklund, Pheasants Forever Public Relations Manager, at (651) 788-3038 or JWiklund@Pheasantsforever.org
About Pheasants Forever
, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever
, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 149,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $708 million on 517,000 habitat projects benefiting 15.8 million acres nationwide.