July 9, 2012

Sage grouse are one of countless species that rely on private farm land for their survival.

In Congress, as in many walks of life, no good deed goes unpunished.

We celebrated two weeks ago when the U.S. Senate passed an amendment to the Farm Bill linking crop insurance subsidies to vital wildlife conservation measures. The provision was noticeably lacking, however, from the version unveiled by the U.S. House of Representatives late last week.

American taxpayers provide billions of dollars each year in subsidies that incentivize farmers to plow under more land. The very least we can do is make sure that vital wildlife habitat isn’t completely destroyed along the way. For example, about 31 percent of sage grouse habitat in the western United States is privately owned and more is plowed under every year. Requiring basic measures that protect soil, water and wildlife is essential to recovering sage grouse and countless other species that rely on America’s working landscapes for their survival.

When the bill is debated in the House later this week, Defenders will be working hard with our allies to make sure funding for these vital programs is restored.

Read more on Defenders dotWild experts blog.

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