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Letters from Readers

Burndown restriction article

The Mississippi Agricultural Aviation Association is very appreciative of the article

Burndown applications may again be restricted in Mississippi, that Doreen Muzzi wrote in your October 11, 2001 issue. In these challenging times pertaining to the agricultural community, including the ag-aviation industry, it is exciting to see an unbiased message that strives to explain all of the inputs that go into the decision making process of a particular situation.

The products that we use in today’s arena are getting more and more target specific. With these target specific products, the timing of application is of the utmost importance.

We all should know that for the agricultural community to continue supplying the United States of America with the most abundant, safest, and least expensive food supply, we must work together to insure that this supply continues in the manner that Americans have grown accustomed.

We commend you for printing this unbiased article and look forward to more from Doreen Muzzi.

Glenn Holloway


Mississippi Agricultural Aviation Association

An open letter to rice growers, other agricultural producers, and DU supporters:

In recent weeks Ducks Unlimited has received some criticism from certain sectors of the farming community for DU’s perceived role in seeking increased funding for conservation programs in the farm bill currently being debated in Congress.

Wetlands and waterfowl conservation are DU’s mission and business, and we must support those activities that will benefit waterfowl and wetlands in the farm bill. However, as the House farm bill legislation was being developed, DU never proposed to move funding away from commodity payments. In fact, we testified and proposed in subsequent meetings with Congress that sufficient funds existed in the House Agriculture Committee’s bill that could have been reallocated to programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), without impacting farm subsidies. Although our suggestion would have benefited most farmers, it was not accepted.

DU would not intentionally advocate a political solution for conservation that helped put more farmers out of business, because private landowners are one of our most important partners. We regret that conflict has developed because of misunderstanding of DU’s position.

Ducks Unlimited has been actively supporting sound conservation provisions in the current debates over farm bill reauthorization. Our position on farm legislation was developed over a long period of time through discussions with DU volunteers, staff, and partners. DU’s intentions have always been to support conservation programs that pay farmers and ranchers for improved stewardship of their land, restoration of wildlife habitat, and participation in such important programs as WRP and CRP, which have allowed many family farmers to retain ownership of their land.

DU and rice farmers have a long and rich history of working together to benefit waterfowl, other wildlife species, the land, and those who make their living from farming.

To demonstrate our on-going commitment to cooperation, DU senior staff met with leaders of the rice industry in our Memphis offices in October. During that meeting we all recognized that rice farmers and DU have mutual interests in securing a good farm bill in Congress. We committed to working together and trying to find common ground in these debates. Since that meeting, we have been in nearly daily communication with rice industry leaders and other representatives of the rice industry.

DU recognizes the severe economic stress that many of the nation’s farmers are currently suffering. Both of us grew up on farms and personally understand the farmer’s plight. Therefore, in the 2002 farm bill, DU will support legislation that accomplishes DU’s conservation purposes without compromising direct farm income subsidies. DU recognizes that there are regional differences in the benefits that conservation dollars afford one segment of the farming community versus others. This may be due to geographic differences that make it difficult for some farmers to use conservation programs such as CRP and WRP. Therein lies the incorrect perception that DU’s intent is to take money away from farmers.

DU supports the enactment of a farm bill by Congress this year. WRP is now fully subscribed. In fact, farmers are waiting to enroll 600,000 acres. Until a farm bill is enacted, the thousands of farmers wanting WRP cannot restore their lands to wetlands. As a result, we have a strong interest in getting a farm bill done soon.

DU will continue to work closely with the rice industry and other commodity interests on legislation to avoid conflict between these natural partners. Let us again make it perfectly clear that it is not DU’s objective to support 2002 farm bill legislation that comes at the expense of the direct farm income subsidies. By working together we can do better things for both wildlife and farmers.

L. J. Mayeux, M.D.


D.A. (Don) Young

Executive Vice President

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