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Tom7227

Pheasants Forever in North Dakota

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In the September 4 edition of Outdoor News there was an article about the removal of Pheasants Forever farm bill biologists from the NRCS offices in North Dakota.  The article indicated that there is a perception that PF is a lobbying group that was unfairly attempting to influence farm policy.

The article has a quote from Pete Hanebutt, public policy director for the North Dakota Farm Bureau in which he claims there is declining interest in the conservation programs that the farm bill biologists work with.  It was reported that he said that the NRCS programs are more attractive to “hobby farmers and ‘small potato’ farmers that are using their land not for production but for their own conservation thing.”

Apparently the employees will be transferred to offices of the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts in the same areas as they have worked in in the past.

I am having trouble understanding what is going on.  Why do folks think that PF and DU are lobbying organizations?  My understanding of the work done by the farm bill biologists is designed to help farmers identify ground that could be used for habitat and to help come up with the things that could be done to improve it and help the owner find and apply for ways to get money to help make that work.  What could possibly be objectionable about such efforts.

Please help me understand what is going on and why.

Thanks for your time.

Tom

I can't find a link to the article.

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I'm guessing the farm bill biologist position getting nixed was a byproduct of association with PF. Yes, PF and DU are most certainly lobbying organizations. They spend huge amount of time and money lobbying for conservation. In states like ND, where farmers hate being told what they should or shouldn't do with their land, this draws a bit of kickback. 

It's a crappy situation, because at it's most basic form they should be working toward similar goals. PF and DU (ideally) should want habitat that supports wildlife without burdening farmers with too much red tape or too much oversight. Farmers (ideally) want to be able to make a buck, while being good stewards of the land. 

But, as I emphasized, these are ideals. Unfortunately, neither side lives up to these perceived expectations.

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