South Dakotans urged to contact elected officials with a voice for stronger CRP program
Brookings, SD -(Ammoland.com)- The Farm Service Agency in Washington D.C. has released its statewide summary of acres accepted as part of USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 49th general sign-up in South Dakota.
The dismal results – only two offers out of 727 applications were accepted for 101 total acres out of 42,352 acres offered – indicate South Dakota is poised to continue hemorrhaging wildlife habitat, with 155,000 additional acres of CRP contracts set to expire by fall of 2018.
The CRP general sign-up completed at the end of February generated more than 1.8 million acres in offers nationwide, but was only able to accept 23 percent of the 26,000 landowner applications because of the program’s 24 million-acre cap. As a result, USDA Secretary Vilsack has commented on the need for a larger CRP cap to meet landowner demand and provide countless natural resource benefits. In South Dakota specifically, CRP acres have declined steadily since 2007 when 1.5 million acres enrolled in the program produced the nation’s highest modern pheasant population and most useful environmental benefits in recent memory. The current statewide enrollment of 954,000 acres is well below Pheasants Forever’s goal of 1.5 million acres that had sustained the state’s hallmark wild pheasant population.
“South Dakotans should not be satisfied with a CRP acceptance rate of less than one percent as part of the nation’s largest voluntary conservation program; to be honest, it’s an insult to the state,” says Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever’s director in South Dakota. “In a time when farmers and ranchers are requesting conservation program assistance, years of conservation cuts are coming home to roost. This is bad news for South Dakota producers, South Dakota natural resources and South Dakota wildlife.”
CRP is a voluntary program designed to help farmers, ranchers and landowners protect their environmentally sensitive land. Eligible landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland throughout the duration of 10 to 15 year contracts.
“South Dakota is losing out on larger blocks of general CRP that provide the most benefit in terms of nesting habitat for upland wildlife – it’s a tragedy for the pheasant capital,” added Nomsen.
Pheasants Forever is urging South Dakota residents to voice their opinion to the state’s elected officials for a stronger CRP presence that supports rural farming communities and robust wildlife populations:
|Senator John Thune||Congresswoman Kristi Noem||Senator Mike Rounds|
|United States Senate #511||2422 Rayburn House Office||Senate Office Bldg., Suite 502|
|Washington, DC 20510||Washington, DC 20515||Washington, DC 20510|
|Phone: (202) 224-2321||Phone: (202) 225-2801||Phone: (202) 224-5842|
|Fax: (202) 228-5429||Fax: (202) 225-5823||Fax: (202) 224-7482|
|Toll-Free: (866) 850-3855||Toll-Free: (855) 225-2801||Toll-Free: (844) 875-5268|
|Email Senator Thune||Email Congresswoman Noem||Email Senator Rounds|
About Pheasants Forever:
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 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. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $634 million on 502,000 habitat projects benefiting 14.1 million acres nationwide.
For more information, visit: www.pheasantsforever.org.