Crawford Introduces Bill to Protect Hunters, Farmers
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01) introduced H.R. 1099, which amends the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in order to protect producers and sportsmen from unfair penalties that result from hunting over ratoon rice fields. The bill, known as the Hunter and Farmer Protection Act, would allow each state’s cooperative extension service to weigh in on the difference between what constitutes baiting and usual agricultural practices. Senator Tom Cotton (AR) has introduced the same legislation in the Senate.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stated that ratoon crops which have been rolled qualify as baited fields, making them out-of-bounds for hunters, despite the fact that local cooperative extension offices advised farmers to roll their fields to help return nutrients to the soil. Inadvertent baiting of a field can produce a fine of up to $15,000 or prohibit hunting on the land.