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Door May Be Shut on Open Fields

From the Wildlife Management Institute

-- Funding for the Open Fields program authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill is proposed to be terminated in the administration’s fiscal year 2010 budget, according to the Wildlife Management Institute.

Language in last year’s Farm Bill authorized a $3 per acre additional payment on lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program if the lands were opened to public hunting. The Obama administration has reasoned that, because many states pay landowners to open their lands for hunting access, the additional federal payments would simply provide more funds to landowners already enrolled in state-sponsored programs.  The Open Fields dollars, therefore, would not contribute to creating more public access.

However, a number of states do not have adequate resources to implement an effective public hunting-access program on private lands. Many of these states worked hard to get the Open Fields language included in the Farm Bill and were counting on the program to boost recreational access opportunities.

The full document of "Terminations, Reductions and Savings" can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2010/assets/trs.pdf

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