WANT WESTERN LAND BARONS TO GET YOUR HARD EARNED TAXES?
EVER HEARD OF “OPEN FIELDS”? WE HAVE -
Thank you to Herman Lenz, our member in Iowa, for bringing the “Open
Fields” Bill to our attention. S.548 and H.R. 1351.
In a call to the House sponsor, Earl Pomeroy of N. Dakota, it is
clear that General Funds from the US Treasury will be used to pay
private property owners for opening up their land to hunters.
The official name of the Bill is: “Voluntary Public Access and
Incentive Program Act of 2005.” It would fund grants to state and
tribal access programs and encourage expansion and improvement of fish
and wildlife habitat.
In an article in the Washington Times by Gene Mueller, he said that
Open Fields now calls for $20 million in annual federal funding from the
Department of Agriculture to be made available between 2005 and 2009. It
would equate to roughly 4 million acres of new land opened each year.
Many states have existing “Open Field” programs to encourage farmers
and ranchers to open their lands to hunters. Many of the state programs
are effective but currently under funded to meet the request from
farmers and ranchers to participate in those programs. The federal
program would consist of a $20 million annual grant to those state
programs for the next 5 years.
Both the House and the Senate bills are currently languishing in
committees and don’t appear to be fast-tracked for passage. However,
since they “pork-barrel” bills, that is bills that give federal funds to
one region of the country (17 primarily Western States would benefit for
the bill) they are subject to a lot of “horsetrading” among congressmen.
So we should keep an eye on those bills to make sure they stay in