Sierra Club and CRP
About 10 days ago I attended our state Farmers Union convention in Des Moines. During the workshops I spoke with some of the various people who were responsible for booths there; the Edwards campaign, the Dodd campaign, the Biden campaign, Leopold Center, etc.
However, when I walked up to the Sierra Club's booth, I was asked by the attendant:
"Would you like to sign a petition to increase CRP enrollment?"
Oh buddy, you asked the wrong fellow.
I'm from Wayne County, IA, the county that has the highest enrollment in CRP in the state. We have approximately 56,000 acres in CRP, and 102,000 acres in corn/soybean production. That means we have about 35% of our potential crop land in CRP. There is CRP land within a 1/2 mile of my farm in one direction. There are large tracts of land in my area that are enrolled already in CRP.
And these guys want more?
I explained to the young skull of mush that we don't need to increase CRP acres, but rather we need to reform the process and get productive land OUT of CRP and maintain conservation plans on the rest that restrict them to high residue cover programs, ranging from no-till rotations to meadow/pasture, depending on the severity of the erosion potential land. I told him that whole-farm enrollment in the 1980's allowed landowners to put their entire farm in the program, regardless if some of the land was highly fertile and non-erodible; just some of the farm had to be classified as "highly erodible land" to get it to qualify. What's worse, the landowner is paid MORE to include these more productive lands by the government because of the lost crop production.
I told the Sierroist (Sierra + environmentalist) that Uncle Sam is the biggest land hog in the area, and is a detriment to beginning farmers to be able to rent and own land. A lot of farmers in this area got started raising livestock, and keeping this potential pasture and hay land out of the market shrinks the opportunities available.
The Sierroist mentioned that when he had spoke at the local Isaac Walton league about increasing CRP, it was met with enthusiasm. No kidding! I like the Ikes as much as any hunter, but these guys are urban-based; they don't attempt to make a living off the land like we farmers do. As far as they're concerned, they could care less if a farmer is trying to making a living out here, especially if it gets in the way of driving the new Expedition out, putting it in 4wd for the first time, donning the custom made Cabela's camo gear, and experiencing the great wild for a few days in the fall so he can feel like a man.
While I remained calm and explained the situation to the young Sierroist, hoping that he would see the light, I am reminded that he, like a lot of other environmentalists, are insulated from the environment they so want to keep us from hurting. They would rather attempt to command us underlings from on high, rather than come out and see the situation for themselves. No, keeping ignorant about the truth is helpful in their case, especially when that ignorance can be used to dupe unsuspecting accomplices to go along with their agendas.