In a classic political game of one-upmanship the two presidential contenders have spent the month of August giving stump speeches about guns, hunting and land conservation. Earlier in the month, in fact, Bush and Kerry were mere blocks from one another in Iowa waxing philosophical about their love for the outdoors, country living and all things agrarian. Kerry had Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell praising his ability with a shotgun, but the highlight for conservationists was Bush’s pledge to extend CRP funding.
On a small farm in Minnesota Bush made the announcement that in his second term, monies for CRP and other wetland restoration programs would not be struck from the budget. Currently, contracts are set to expire on thousands of acres in 2007. Officials from Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and other sportsmen’s groups that value land access and conservation all praised the speech.
Jim Range, chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, told Agriculture News, “CRP has helped millions of American farmers create wildlife-friendly habitat and this step will help ensure that we retain that existing habitat and even add to it.”