Hunting five states in five days as part of the 2012 Rooster Road Trip is accompanied by a lot of windshield time. Time spent traveling two-tracks, tar roads and interstate highways. Time spent looking at the landscape. And one fact is depressingly obvious through our travels; America’s wildlife habitat is disappearing.
Black tile litters fields by the mile, sloughs are burning under plumes of gray smoke, and CRP lands have already been tilled in preparation of spring planting. Our fathers’ remember the end of the Soil Bank when fencerows and ditches were removed. We’ve all heard those stories and the joy CRP brought back to America’s pheasant fields. As I drive, I can’t help but wonder how much corn the human race could possibly need and if we’re on the road to repeating our own tragic habitat loss history. On the Rooster Road, it’s painfully obvious to me that history is indeed repeating. There is too much proof beyond the windshield to deny that fact.
In the last year alone, 6.5 million acres of CRP expired from contracts with most of those acres leaving the program for the plow. 6.5 million acres of habitat homes for all varieties of wildlife. 6.5 million acres filtering our waters, mitigating flooding and keeping our under-appreciated soil in in place on the ground. Without a new Farm Bill during the last session of Congress, CRP and all of America’s federal conservation programs hang in limbo.
So as a new class of Washington leaders prepare to transition in and out of elected offices, Pheasants Forever urges the 2012 Congress to finish the job of a 2012 Farm Bill. Our nation’s wildlife is too important to our way of life for habitat to continue to hemorrhage from our landscape under this generation’s watch.