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President Vocalizes Support for CRP

President Obama signs a memorandum to establish America’s Great Outdoors Initiative as (from left to right) Nancy Sutley, Chair of Council on Environmental Quality; Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator; Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior; and Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary all observe.

Last week, I attended the President’s “White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors” in Washington, D.C.  We joined our colleagues from all the major conservation groups for this historic event, which was the first of its kind attended by a sitting President since Roosevelt’s 1908 event.  If you recall, President Bush hosted two similar conferences in St. Louis and Reno during his Presidency, but was unable to personally attend those events because of unexpected circumstances; Hurricane Katrina detained him from St. Louis and the country’s economic crisis prevented him from being in Reno. 

President Obama acknowledged he wasn’t a hunter and lightly joked about one difference between he and President Roosevelt would always be that Roosevelt had killed a bear.  President Obama pledged; however, that he could certainly still act in support of sportsmen and sportswomen. 

During his remarks, President Obama singled out the wide array of wildlife and natural resource benefits the Conservation Reserve Program’s 30 million acres provide.  USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack also spoke of the successful CRP and acknowledged 2010 as the start of CRP’s 25th Anniversary.   Having both the President and the Ag Secretary acknowledge CRP is a good start to the coming debate in Congress over CRP’s reauthorization as part of the 2012 Farm Bill. 

As far as outcomes from the Conference itself, it’s up to us as hunters and anglers to walk through the door that’s been opened to us.  As an organization, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever is already talking 2012 Farm Bill details on a daily basis.  Our call to action for each and every member, bird hunter, and outdoorsman & woman is to get involved in the process.  Make your concerns about habitat and hunting issues be known by contacting your local, state, and federally elected officials.  The White House will also be hosting regional meetings on conservation issues across the country this year; be sure to attend these meetings where possible.  Together, our collective voices can help preserve our nations’ rich traditions in hunting and wildlife conservation.

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