Archive for the ‘Policy Matters’ Category

Major Land Use of the United States

February 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Major Uses of Land in the United States, 2007 from ERS (Click on image below).

Cover Image

By Cynthia Nickerson, Robert Ebel, Allison Borchers, and Fernando Carriazo

Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-89) 67 pp, December 2011

Field Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill for Fish and Wildlife Conservation

April 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Understanding Changes in the 2008 Farm Bill

August 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Primary Nesting Season

USDA FSA has a map of the Primary Nesting Season (PNS). PNS is the period of high nesting activity of grassland birds, and managed haying and grazing is prohibited during this time frame. Notice how much the dates and length of the PNS varies even among adjacent states.

More Farm Bill Reviews

Farm Bill Benefits to Wildlife

May 29, 2008 1 comment

The Comprehensive Review of Farm Bill Benefits to Wildlife reviews the impacts of USDA Conservation Programs on wildlife habitat and populations from 1885-2000. Much of the document focuses on grassland birds because the vast majority of the enrolled acres are in grass practices, and most of the available research is on birds. There are chapters specifically on waterfowl & CRP, grassland birds & CRP, and grassland birds & buffer practices. The Southeast and Midwest each get their own chapter. There are chapters on Swampbuster, WRP, WHIP and EQUIP. The list of authors is impressive – Pete Heard, Douglas Johnson, Louis Best, just to name a few. The highlight of the document is an extensive annotated bibliography. Fifteen years of ag-wildlife research in one volume. The individual chapters are available HERE. The chapters by Burger, Ryan, and Best are central texts in my Ag-Wildlife course.

In 2005, the NRCS in conjunction with the Wildlife Society produced two additional reviews.

The first one – Fish & Wildlife Benefits of Farm Bill Conservation Programs – covers the first half of this decade. Some chapters from the 1985-2000 document are present in revised form (e.g., Johnson, Grassland Bird Use of CRP in the Great Plains; Burger, The CRP in the Southeast; Reynolds, The CRP and Duck Production in the US Prairie Pothole region). There are also several new chapters on the CREP, the Grassland Reserve Program, and the Conservation Security Program. This update lacks the annotated bibliography of the first document. Individual chapters are available HERE. Hard copy can be be purchased from the Wildlife Society.

The second one – Fish & Wildlife Benefits of Farm Bill Conservation Practices – organizes the reviews by particular types of conservation practices, which can be useful from an objective-oriented planning perspective. Chapters include ones on cropland conservation practices, grassland establishment, agricultural buffers, grassland conservation practices, wetland establishment practices, and effects of conservation practices on aquatic habitats and fauna. The final chapter summarizes ways of “Using Adaptive Management to Meet Conservation Goals.” Individual chapters are available HERE. Hard copy can be be purchased from the Wildlife Society.

Grazing and Haying CRP for Livestock Needs

The USDA just opened up > 24 million acres of CRP to help offset increased feed costs. Many wildlife concerns are directly addressed. “Eligible land may not be hayed or grazed until after the end of the primary nesting season. Also, some ….. land must be reserved for wildlife and …… must have a conservation plan. In many instances, the removal of some of the grass cover will increase the diversity of the stand and provide long-term benefits for wildlife. Further, the most environmentally-sensitive land …. will not be eligible.” {emphasis mine}. This has been met with mixed reviews, so I link some of them below:

Opinions vary….” Brownfield Network.

America’s Duck Factory to also serve as Beef Factory.” Ducks Unlimited.

Beef groups oppose USDA Plan….” Cattle Network.

Corn prices slip after USDA opens….” MarketWatch.

Are we subsidizing forages?” AgWeb Blogs.

Mixed feelings….” from Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever at Eden Prairie News.

CRP Release Rankles Hay Growers…” – from Hay & Forage Grower.

Pros & Cons of USDA Releasing….”  – from Wallaces Farmer.


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