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 Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover?