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 California prepares to welcome wolves home, but delays on providing state protections Now, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves throughout most of the rest of the country, gray wolves are once again at risk. Delisting would short-circuit wolf recovery in the Pacific West and would effectively mean giving up on one of our country’s most important and iconic species. Fortunately, California has an opportunity to play a meaningful role in helping the gray wolf continue to recover in the coming months and years. I Was There It was a bitterly cold winter morning when the convoy departed down the remote Forest Service road near Salmon, Idaho. Decades after scientists first called for the restoration of wolves in the region, the first four wolves arrived in Idaho on January 14, 1995, thanks to the Endangered Species Act… Victory for Wild Bison in Montana! In a decision that the uninitiated would argue is a painful exercise in stating the obvious, a Montana court last week determined that the wild bison of Yellowstone, an animal that has roamed the continent for millennia, are indeed wild animals.