‘State Of The Birds 2017′ Report Highlights Farm Bill’s Importance To Conservation

Meadowlarks depend on grassland habitat, which exist mainly on private land that receives support from the Farm Bill. (Photo by Donald Metzner)

A new report highlights the importance of the Farm Bill to bird species across the U.S.

The report, “The State of the Birds 2017,” documents the bill’s benefits to farmers, birds and rural communities.

As an example, the report says the Farm Bill has helped increase the number of waterfowl in the Prairie Pothole Region by 37 million in the past 25 years.

The report, which the North American Bird Conservation Initiative released Thursday, is especially timely as Congress debates the 2018 Farm Bill.

“For more than twenty years, the Farm Bill has provided widespread conservation benefits for our nation’s farmers, ranchers, sportsmen and all who enjoy clean drinking water, flood protection, and healthy wildlife populations,” Tom Moorman, Ducks Unlimited chief scientist, said in a news release. “Millions of acres of working lands are conserved through Farm Bill conservation programs that ensure long-term sustainability and productivity of the land that supports waterfowl and many other species of fish and wildlife.”

In its news release, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative also highlighted the four top conservation priorities the 2018 Farm Bill should include, as outlined in the report.

  • Increase funding for the voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs that support farmers and ranchers financially while also supporting our natural infrastructure of grasslands and wetlands.
  • Improve the impact of Farm Bill conservation programs on priority wildlife species, drawing on input from individual states.
  • Enhance Farm Bill public-private partnerships. Partner biologist positions hold the key to matching landowners with conservation programs that best fit the landowners’ wildlife and land-use goals.
  • Support the use of science, including monitoring and evaluation of Farm Bill conservation programs over time, to maximize the bill’s effectiveness and return on investment.

”Farm Bill conservation programs, such as the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, get on-the-ground work done for species of greatest concern such as golden-winged warbler and northern bobwhite,” Steve Holmer, vice president of policy for the American Bird Conservancy, said in the news release. “The 2018 Farm Bill will hopefully build on this success by fully supporting these conservation programs.”

Click to download the report in PDF format.