DU Talks Farm Bill with House Ag. Chairman Peterson

Waterfowl conservation group advocates “Farm the Best, Conserve the Rest” philosophy

MEMPHIS, Tenn., January 31, 2007 – House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (Minn.) recently visited Ducks Unlimited’s headquarters to discuss DU’s priorities for the next federal farm bill in working with America’s farmers and ranchers. Peterson, an avid waterfowl hunter, was in the area for a farm bill town hall meeting in Arkansas.

“Chairman Peterson has a challenging job in leading the process to develop a new federal farm bill,” DU President Jim Hulbert said. “He was gracious to meet with us and listen to our suggestions for working with America’s farmers and ranchers on this important legislation.”

"Ducks Unlimited is on the front lines protecting our natural resources and working locally to improve wildlife habitat," said Chairman Peterson. "I appreciated their recommendations on practical ways we can improve federal conservation policy, and I look forward to working with them and the other major groups in the conservation community during the farm bill process.

During his visit, Chairman Peterson got a chance to review some of Ducks Unlimited’s priorities for the upcoming farm bill. Among the things that were discussed with the chairman were:

  • Maintaining 7.8 million acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in the Prairie Pothole Region. 

  • Ensuring an annual allocation of at least 250,000 acres of Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) land, with a nationwide cap of 3,525,000 acres. 

  • Support a “sodsaver” amendment that removes incentives for those who convert native prairie to cropland. 

  • Maintain current protection measures for preventing conversion of wetlands to other uses.

  • Ensure the agriculture policy development for renewable energy is consistent with fish, wildlife, soil and water conservation goals.

“DU works with America’s farmers and ranchers every day making sure they get the technical assistance necessary to make the farm bill conservation programs work best on their land,” Hulbert said. “We believe the best agriculture land should be farmed and ranched and land not good for crops or grazing, like wetlands, should be conserved for wildlife and maintaining clean water. That’s why we say ‘Farm the Best, Conserve the Rest.’”

Key farm bill conservation programs include the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP) among others.

In many states, DU works cooperatively with the federal agencies that have jurisdiction over these programs and provides technical assistance to farmers and ranchers who participate in these programs on their land.

Contact: Neil Shader, Conservation Policy Specialist, 202-347-1530, nshader@ducks.org

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.