Following is a letter I recently sent to Don A. Young, executive vice president of Ducks Unlimited, Inc., expressing my disappointment in Ducks Unlimited's actions during the farm bill debate. I believe readers of Delta Farm Press will find it of interest. I hope that others sharing my view will contact Ducks Unlimited and let it be known that farmers and sportsmen do not appreciate its tactics. Ducks Unlimited can be contacted at: Ducks Unlimited, Inc., One Waterfowl Way, Memphis, Tennessee, 38120.
Dear Mr. Young:
It is with great disappointment that I request my membership with Ducks Unlimited be terminated. Judging by the actions of DU during the farm bill debate in the House of Representatives, it is clear to me that the best interest of sportsmen and farmers are no longer your priority.
I am a rice farmer's son from DeWitt, Ark. I have supported Ducks Unlimited for many years, first as a Greenwing, later as a founding member of the University of Arkansas Chapter in Fayetteville, Ark. In recent years I have attended numerous banquets and pledged my support for your organization because I truly believed that your efforts helped the hunting community.
Your true colors can be camouflaged no longer. Ducks Unlimited does not support sportsmen. Ducks Unlimited does not support farmers. I was shocked to hear that DU turned its back on this nation's first conservationists, its farmers. I am referring to DU's decision to support the amendment offered by Rep. Kind that would take nearly $2 billion per year from the commodity title of the farm bill.
Where would our duck population be without the private landowner that provides a resting ground during annual winter migrations? Please tell me how Ducks Unlimited justifies its support for a legislative effort that takes money out of farmers' pockets when they are suffering with the worst commodity prices since the Great Depression.
I might be more understanding if the conservation title were getting a raw deal, but the House Agriculture Committee provided an 80 percent increase in conservation funding. How much is enough?
I have heard several extremists in the environmental community comment that rice farms in east Arkansas should be converted into a large wetland refuge. Does DU now share this mindset? Are you trying to force farmers into bankruptcy just so the White River Refuge can be expanded?
Some of my most fond memories are the times I spent hunting with my family and friends on our farm in southeast Arkansas. I look forward to the day that I will be able to take my own children hunting on our family farm.
I realize that environmentally sensitive land needs to be preserved, but conservation interests must be balanced with common sense. Efforts such as the Kind amendment could mean that my family farm would cease to exist.
Your organization made a conscious decision to side with the Environmental Working Group, and others, which have never been the friend of the farmer. I hope that you will take a step back and think about the future of your organization. I hope that a day will come that I will once again believe in your mission. As for now, I support our nation's farmers, which means I do not support Ducks Unlimited.
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