Any farmers out there who want to respond? As a bird hunter this is scary stuff to me. Washington, D.C., - February 15, 2007 - Last week, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced his agency, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), would offer no new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signups in 2007 and 2008. Though the USDA's 2008 fiscal budget calls for $2 billion to be spent on the CRP program; that money would go only to existing contracts. Nationwide, CRP enrollment will drop by at least 3 million acres this year, to approximately 34 million acres by 2008, as a result of this announcement. In addition, USDA officials are considering offering "early outs" from existing CRP contracts. If "early outs" come into play, then the 3 million acre estimate could be a dramatically low prediction. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever find this recent development unacceptable and in direct contrast to President Bush's directive for a fully enrolled CRP. This announcement is also shortsighted when considering CRP's legacy of benefits for our soil, water, air, and wildlife resources. It's no secret that the CRP program has been the most successful conservation program in U.S. history, helping increase not only pheasant populations but populations of quail, ducks, grouse, prairie chickens and other wildlife. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever recognize there are a variety of forces with opposing interests at play. However, the quality of our water and natural resources should not be up for debate. Selling the country short on conservation of our natural resources is simply not the answer.