Washington, D.C. - - Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever leadership and members will be in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with legislators in support of conservation practices and wildlife habitat. Howard Vincent,Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever National President and CEO; Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Vice President of Government Affairs, and a contingent of the conservation organization's staff and membership will meet with U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committee members and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Representing Pheasants Forever in Washington, D.C., will be:
Moe Linden from Dighton, Kans., a member of the Stubble Ducks Pheasants Forever chapter
William Zehnder from Vassar, Mich., a Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever National Board member
James Dietsch and Laura Miller-McIver from Oklahoma City, Okla., both members of the Central Oklahoma 89ers Quail Forever chapter
In addition to meetings with the leadership offices of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever will meet with Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss the recent CRP General Sign-up 43 and the recent reallocation of 1 million CRP acres to the most popular continuous practices within the program.
Pheasants Forever's Top Five 2012 Farm Bill endorsements include:
1. Reauthorize CRP. With approximately 6 million acres set to expire in 2012 and an additional 3 million acres in 2013, the Conservation Reserve Program is expiring acres at an alarming rate. Congress has to act to pass a 2012 Farm Bill and reauthorize CRP so the program can rebuild going forward.
2. A Competitive Conservation Reserve Program - Pheasants Forever understands and supports the need for an economically competitive and targeted Conservation Reserve Program and the reauthorization USDA's most successful conservation programs in order to ensure the future of CRP and improve the program's overall value. Conservation programs such as CP33 Buffer Acres, CP37 Duck Nesting Acres, and CP38 SAFE Acres offer the ability to turn every CRP acre into a specifically targeted approach to wildlife conservation and environmental sensitivity, while typically offering producers more competitive rental rates than general CRP contracts.
3. Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) Acres Baseline and Permanent Funding - WRP acts as American's number one wetlands restoration program, improving wetland conservation, mitigating wetlands loss, providing migratory bird and fisheries habitat and improving water quality. "Wetlands are some of the most valuable pieces of land for wildlife and environmental quality," says Nomsen, "In addition to permanently funded wetlands protections, an acres baseline for this program needs to be established, thereby ensuring a constant minimum of what we can improve upon."
4. Continuation of Open Fields Hunting Access Programs. The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program is an innovative program used to help fund dwindling public access to private lands, which constitutes the greatest threat to hunting in the United States today. Pheasants Forever supports the permanent authorization and funding for this program, which benefits both wildlife habitat and hunting access. "It is crucial to give sportspeople a place to experience the outdoors, and this voluntary program creates a win-win relationship for the landowner and the outdoorsman," says Nomsen.
5. Strengthened "Sodsaver" or Non-cropland Conversion Provisions - Sodsaver provisions would help conserve one of America's most iconic and threatened ecosystems: our native grasslands. Grasslands provide essential habitat and breeding grounds for countless species of North American ducks and other recreationally important species like pheasants and deer. These provisions would save taxpayer dollars and conserve critical habitat while maintaining farmers' abilities to manage their lands as they see fit.
For more information, please contact Dave Nomsen at (320) 491-9163 / Email Dave. For all other inquiries, please contact Rehan Nana, Pheasants Forever Public Relations Specialist, at (651) 209-4973 / Email Rehan.
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 135,000 members and 700 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.