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  Tuesday July 29th, 2014    

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Wild turkey federation president Mahlke meets with President Bush (08/08/2004)
David Mahlke, Winona, Minn., met President George W. Bush during an event to announce conservation initiatives in Le Sueur, Minn.

Mahlke, state chapter president for the National Wild Turkey Federation, heard about the President's plans to strengthen conservation provisions in the 2002 Farm Bill.

President Bush's call to expand the Conservation Reserve Program was met with approval by the nearly 100 farmers and conservationists assembled at a farm in southwestern Minnesota.

"Congress and the Administration have made great strides with the Conservation Reserve Program," Mahlke said. "They're committed to making land practices that benefit wildlife an important part of landowners' plans."

The CRP's portfolio of technical assistance and cost share incentives encourages landowners to set aside marginal acres to ensure the land stays healthy and productive.

"The best thing from the Farm Bill was the Conservation Title," said President Bush. "It encouraged people to put aside lands for the right reasons, to protect the soil, protect the water, provide habitat for wildlife."

Currently, there are 35 million acres of farmland enrolled in the CRP. However, contracts covering two-thirds of these acres will expire in 2007.

The President's call for Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman to offer early re-enrollment and contract extensions will secure land conservation benefits for the future. The President also announced a general sign up of an additional 800,000 acres under CRP.

Another measure calls for expanding the program to enroll 250,000 grassland acres that border farmlands.

A third initiative announced by the President would expand CRP to cover wetlands outside of the 100-year flood plain such as prairie potholes and playa lakes.

"I'm also making available resources needed to help farmers protect 250,000 acres of such wetlands," the President said. "This is part of an initiative that I outlined last Earth Day, which was to restore, improve and protect at least 3 million wetland acres over the next five years."

Efforts to convert more cropland to native grasses and trees and conserve wetlands is good news for the NWTF's nearly 525,000 members and the nation's 2.6 million wild turkey hunters. These habitat improvements will provide critical elements for wild turkey survival such as food, cover, and habitat for nesting and rearing broods. 

 

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