Crawford files bill to Protect Arkansas Farmers and Hunters from Onerous Rice Regulations

Dec 17, 2012
Press

Legislation would prevent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from placing unfair penalties on farmers and sportsmen for rolling their fields during hunting season

Congressman Rick Crawford announced today that he has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from placing unfair penalties on farmers and sportsmen for rolling their fields during hunting season. Crawford’s H.R. 6665 the Farmers Protection Act of 2012 is the companion to legislation of the same name introduced last week by U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Roger Wicker (R-MS). The legislation would allow each state’s cooperative extension service to distinguish between normal agricultural practices and baiting.

“Farmers and hunters in Arkansas and across the country understand the importance of protecting land and wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Service should not penalize farmers and hunters for common agricultural practices,” said Crawford. “This legislation will resolve the issue by allowing state cooperative extension services to determine common regional practices. The legislation will also give rice producers the ability to manage their land without the fear of losing hunting rights.”

Extreme drought conditions this summer in Crawford’s Arkansas district and throughout much of the country caused harvested rice farms to re-head, creating “ratoon” or second growth crops that are often uneconomical to harvest. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would view these ratoon crops that have been rolled as baited fields, even though this practice was recommended by local cooperative extension services as a way to return nutrients to the soil. Inadvertent baiting of a field can level a fine of up to $15,000 or prohibit hunting on the land.

Congressman Rick Crawford represents Arkansas’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Crawford serves on the Agriculture Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Crawford and his wife Stacy live in Jonesboro with their two children.

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Legislation would prevent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from placing
unfair penalties on farmers and sportsmen for rolling their fields during hunting season

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