Field Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill for Fish and Wildlife Conservation

This guide was prepared for fish and wildlife conservation practitioners so they can better understand the Farm Bill and how it can be used in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), landowners, and producers for the conservation of fish and wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services. 

Private lands are vitally important to the conservation of fish and wildlife in the U.S. because they constitute approximately 70 percent of the land ownership in the lower 48 states. In addition, 50 percent (890 million acres) of land base in the contiguous U.S. is managed as cropland, pastureland, and rangeland.

The Farm Bill is not just about wildlife habitat, but also addresses other resource concerns such as soil, water, energy, and air. However, it is one of the most important tools enacted by Congress for restoring, enhancing, and protecting habitat on private lands and, in some cases, public lands that private landowners have control over as part of their agricultural operations. Habitat also protects the soil and water and supports the pollinators that sustain agricultural systems.

Author: Randall Gray. Randy worked for 31 years for the USDA NRCS, where he helped develop, deliver, and evaluate Farm Bill conservation programs. Before retiring, his final position was the National Wildlife Biologist. He is the former Farm Bill Coordinator for the Intermountain West Joint Venture.

Author, Source 
U.S. NABCI Committee and IWJV, 2009