06 August 2012 Plowed Under: Joint Report Advocates Farm Bill Changes Posted by: Alex Slippen | 1 comment | Share: A new report released today by the Environmental Working Group and Defenders highlights the massive wildlife habitat loss stemming from unlimited and unregulated crop insurance subsidies like the ones on the pending 2012 farm bill. New research from the report indicates that, between 2008 and 2011, over 23 million acres of viable wildlife habitat were converted into cropland, particularly in areas of the Midwest and Great Plains. The loss of these wetlands and grasslands now pose a significant risk to the long-term survival of songbirds and waterfowl, as well as several at-risk species, such as swift fox, mountain plover, sage grouse, and lesser prairie chicken. The secondary pollution effects of crops in these areas with the use of chemicals and fertilizers has also been observed, leading scientists to worry that pressure on these species will only increase. Much of the conversion from wildlife habitat to cropland has occurred as a result of crop insurance subsidies. Because these subsidies lower farmers’ risks of plowing crops in certain vulnerable wetlands and grasslands, they provide greater incentives for farmers to work there and eliminate prime areas of wildlife survival. Further, these crop insurance subsidies are not currently subject to payment limits and conservation requirements. Sage grouse are one of countless species that rely on private farm land for their survival. With the release of this report, Defenders and EWG are hoping to influence Congress to make changes in regards to adding conservation requirements as they prepare to outline legislation for the 2012 farm bill. New “conservation compliance” provisions could require growers to implement basic elements of environmental protection as part of an agreement to receive crop insurance subsidies. While there is much work still to be done, it is the hope that this report will highlight the vulnerability of wildlife and allow for genuine impacts on the upcoming farm bill. To learn more about how crop subsidies contribute to massive habitat losses, please visit this article from EcoWatch. One Response to “Plowed Under: Joint Report Advocates Farm Bill Changes” libertyhound1776 August 6th, 2012 Let me get this straight. People in this country and the starving of the third world, aren’t as important as animals????? We have the worst DROUGHTS in the midwest, since the dustbowl of the 1920′s and 30′s, and the environmentals are worried about some animals….so why not eat the animals and grow more food?? Because the FEDS are overrun with backward thinking idiots. Just sayin’… /: Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Safety Pens Mean Peace of Mind in Panther Country For Floridians who live alongside Florida panthers, coexistence means finding ways to protect both their beloved pets and these critically endangered cats. Building an enclosure is a great solution, especially for backyard animals. It’s Time to Act for Right Whales Years after they agreed to expand critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, we’re still waiting on NMFS to follow through. So we took to the courts to get this much-needed protection in place. How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit?