Nebraska Wildlife Federation Public Policy
As Congress debates a new 5-year Farm Bill, the
huge potential impact on Nebraska wildlife may not be obvious...at first.
Over 95% of Nebraska's land base is privately owned farms and ranches --
split roughly evenly between cropland and ranch land. Less than 2% of
Nebraska's land base is publicly owned parks, recreation areas, national
grasslands and forests, wildlife management areas, and wildlife refuges. We
cannot have healthy fish and wildlife populations in Nebraska without
addressing wildlife on farms and ranches.
Farmers and ranchers facing a host of financial
and other challenges -- high property taxes, wide swings in crop and
livestock prices, and high prices for fertilizer and fuel. The increasing concentration in both suppliers and commodity
buyers pinch family farmers and ranchers in the middle.
ALERT: Help Build a Better Farm Bill
SodSaver Fact Sheet (PDF)
Swampbuster & Sodbuster (PDF)
on the Chopping Block (PDF)
The federal Farm Bill drives day to day
decisions on most Nebraska farms, and federal farm conservation programs
play a huge role in wildlife conservation on Nebraska farms and ranches.
Farm Bill conservation program funding in
Nebraska -- more than $100 million a year -- is by far the largest single
source of money available for fish and wildlife habitat and conservation in
The health of Nebraska's fish and wildlife
populations rests, in large part, with the effectiveness and funding of
those federal farm conservation programs. They help farmers and ranchers
afford to be better stewards of our natural resources.
Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, and Grassland
Reserve Program provide over 1 million acres of wildlife habitat in
Nebraska -- more than all the federal, state and local parks, grasslands,
forests and refuges put together!
The 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills promised substantial increases in conservation program
funding, but Congress failed to fully deliver on those promises. In 2012,
Congress is writing a new Farm Bill, and farm and ranch stewardship programs
need to be a centerpiece of the legislation.
Yet the structural problems in
Nebraska agriculture cannot be cured through better farm conservation
programs alone. The future health of Nebraska farmers and ranchers, rural
communities, and rural resources will require more basic, structural
Working for You!
● The Nebraska Wildlife Federation is
working to improve Farm Bill conservation programs, to make
them as effective and efficient as possible in promoting wildlife and
wildlife habitat in Nebraska. The Federation is also working with
progressive farm and rural community organizations to support more basic
change in the structure of agriculture in Nebraska.
● We are a member of the National
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which develops Farm Bill policy options that benefit
wildlife, family farmers, and rural communities. We also work with the
National Wildlife Federation, and with NWF state affiliates around the
country on farm policy.
● The Nebraska Wildlife Federation provides
advice to the US Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation
Service, through the NRCS State Technical Committee. We help ensure
that federal tax dollars spent in Nebraska provide the most benefit possible
for fish and wildlife in our state.
Nebraska's agricultural industry also has other
far-reaching impacts on our natural resources. We don't shy away from
tough issues, but work cooperatively to find solutions.
Nearly every major river in Nebraska is
polluted, by some combination of pesticides, nutrients, bacteria,
and sediment, from farm fields, livestock operations, factories, powerplants,
and municipal wastewater and stormwater systems. We are working to ensure
that the State of Nebraska lives up to its responsibility to make Nebraska's
rivers and lakes swimmable and fishable once more.
Extensive irrigation in Nebraska has
dried up streams like Pumpkin Creek and
Frenchman Creek. We continue our work to protect remaining river flows
critical for fish, wildlife, and recreation, and to begin to restore
critical river flows. Click Here for
Photo Credits: Whitetail by John
Stehn, USFWS, pheasants by Roger Hill, USDA NRCS; irrigated field by Duane