CRP Enrollment Declines Linked to High Commodity Prices

WMI Outdoor News Bulletin November 17, 2014

According to research from Purdue University, enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has been steadily declining since 2007. One of the primary drivers of this are the high commodity prices through last year that encourage farmers to plant or rent their agricultural lands, reports the Wildlife Management Institute.

David Widmar, a research associate at Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics, found that the number of acres in CRP fell by nearly 10 million acres between 2007 and 2013. He reported that North Dakota’s enrollment dropped by 47 percent (1.6 million acres) during that period with Montana close behind at 43 percent (1.4 million acres).

High commodity prices have driven farmland rental rates up making it more profitable for landowners to cash rent their land rather than keeping it enrolled in CRP. Current CRP acreage approximates levels enrolled in the late 1980s when the program was in its initial ramp-up stage. CRP participation peaked in 2007 when over 35 million acres were enrolled and the 2014 Farm Bill calls for further decline to 24 million acres by 2018.

CRP has easily been the most effective federal program in recent times to improve water quality and provide much needed grassland habitat for wildlife. It will be especially important that the acres that remain in CRP be targeted at the most effective locations and be managed properly to achieve the most benefits. (pmr)




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Cornell University scientists accidentally create ‘buck magnets’ in effort to control deer population

Nick Canedo on October 16, 2014 at 2:39 PM, updated October 16, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Cornell University launched a program in 2009 aimed at satisfying all Ithaca residents by controlling the area’s deer population in an innovative way. Fast forward to 2013, and scientists were left puzzled: deer pregnancy rate was down, but the population remained the same.

How did this happen? Turned out the scientists had unknowingly created “buck magnets.” The Washington Post recently chronicled the university’s program that led to this surprising result. Continue reading

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 October 2, 2014

IA Dept. of Agriculture

 79.8 percent of the deer tested positive for the disease

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship today announced that the test results from the depopulation of a quarantined captive deer herd in north-central Iowa showed that 284 of the 356 deer, or 79.8% of the herd, tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).  The owners of the quarantined herd have entered into a fence maintenance agreement with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, which requires the owners to maintain the 8’ foot perimeter fence around the herd premises for five years after the depopulation was complete and the premises had been cleaned and disinfected.

CWD is a progressive, fatal, degenerative neurological disease of farmed and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose.   There is no known treatment or vaccine for CWD.  CWD is not a disease that affects humans.

On July 18, 2012, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, IA confirmed that a male white tail deer harvested from a hunting preserve in southeast IA was positive for CWD. An investigation revealed that this animal had just been introduced into the hunting preserve from the above-referenced captive deer herd in north-central Iowa.

The captive deer herd was immediately quarantined to prevent the spread of CWD.  The herd has remained in quarantine until its depopulation on August 25 to 27, 2014.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship participated in a joint operation to depopulate the infected herd with USDA Veterinary Services, which was the lead agency, and USDA Wildlife Services.

Federal indemnity funding became available in 2014.  USDA APHIS appraised the captive deer herd of 376 animals at that time, which was before depopulation and testing, at $1,354,250.  At that time a herd plan was developed with the owners and officials from USDA and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Once the depopulation was complete and the premises had been cleaned and disinfected, indemnity of $917,100.00 from the USDA has been or will be paid to the owners as compensation for the 356 captive deer depopulated.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship operates a voluntary CWD program for farms that sell live animals.  Currently 145 Iowa farms participate in the voluntary program. The above-referenced captive deer facility left the voluntary CWD program prior to the discovery of the disease as they had stopped selling live animals. All deer harvested in a hunting preserve must be tested for CWD.





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Judge restores protections to wolves in Wyoming


Michael Winter, USA TODAY 9:46 p.m. EDT September 23, 2014

wolf pic 10-1-14.jpeg

At the end of 2013, data showed that Wyoming, Montana and Idaho were home to at least 320 packs consisting of at least 1,691 wolves and at least 78 breeding pairs.(Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

Overruling U.S. wildlife officials, a federal judge Tuesday restored protections for gray wolves in Wyoming but left intact a determination that the species has recovered and is not endangered or threatened “in a significant portion” of its northern Rocky Mountains range.

Relying on Wyoming data, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service declared that the gray wolf had recovered from near extinction by humans and removed it from the list of threatened or endangered species in late August 2012. The move, which the agency called “a major success story,” transferred control from federal to state officials a month later.

Idaho and Montana officials had previously been given oversight of the wolves in their states because populations had rebounded and their management plans met federal requirements.

But in her opinion Tuesday from the nation’s capital, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that it was “arbitrary and capricious” for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to rely on Wyoming’s “nonbinding promises to maintain a particular number of wolves when the availability of that specific numerical buffer was such a critical aspect of the delisting decision.” Continue reading

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‘Game-changing’ study: Reducing deer herd in residential communities reduces Lyme disease

By David Figura The Post-Standard September 10, 2014



Deer urban pic.jpeg

(Marlyn Fuess photo)





North Franklin, Conn. – Researchers in Connecticut say if you reduce deer numbers in a residential community you’ll reduce the chances of residents coming down with Lyme disease.

The 13-year-study, “The Relationship Between Deer Density, Tick Abundance and Human Cases of Lyme Disease in a Residential Community,” was carried out by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Wildllife Division in the small communities of Mumford Cove and Groton Long Point. The results of the study were published in the July issue of the Journal of Medical Entomology.

If you want to reduce the number of deer ticks, you have to reduce the number of deer that they dine on during their second year of life, the researchers found.

tick pic.jpeg

The deer herd in the two communities – which at its peak averaged 80 deer per square mile – was cut down considerably by volunteer hunters using shotguns, compound bows, crossbows and bait on three tracts of public land. Both communities had to eliminate their no-hunting ordinances to allow the hunting.

“Reducing deer density to 5.1 deer per square kilometer resulted in a 76 percent reduction in tick abundance … and 80 percent reduction in resident-reported cases of Lyme disease in the community,” the study noted. Continue reading

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