Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Friday, April 01, 2005

Farming for Land

Which organization received the largest amount of money in federal agriculture subsidies in the state of Minnesota last year? Hint. It's not a farming organization. Records obtained by the Associated Press show The Nature Conservancy actually tops the list. According to the AP "The Nature Conservancy received $557,000 in subsidies, in exchange for conservation easements on prairie land the group is restoring in the northwest part of the state. The top five farms received between $340,000 and $375,000 each, with Hector Farms of Hector, Minn., topping the list. Ron Nargang, state director of The Nature Conservancy, said his group received payments for putting conservation easements on 1,400 acres. Most of those payments ranged from $360 to $430 an acre. The group is restoring prairies in Glacial Ridge, a swath of land near Crookston that is being turned into a national wildlife refuge. The Nature Conservancy, which is nonprofit, is using the money to help pay off the $9 million it paid to buy the property, Nargang said. The USDA's conservation programs, he said, "create critical incentives for farmer and other private land owners to consider the importance of good habitat and resource protection."
I'd be curious to know if that holds true for other states as well.
Speaking of labels that may not describe things accurately...... Hey Jon Christensen, did you know you were a "conservative thinker"? That's what the Land Trust Alliance website claims. The page has a link to the letter to the editor by Jon and Terry Anderson in defense of the conservation easement deduction. I guess I can understand why the LTA would want to advertise "conservative" support to Congress, and Dr. Anderson would seem to have the credentials (Hoover Institution, free market environmentalism) to back up the conservative label. But Jon has described himself as being from the "radical center". Sometimes in the quest for simple labels, the shades of gray tend to be blotted out.
Sustainable Forestry
Speaking of Jon, he links to a press release from a coalition of 90 Southern scientists calling for an overhaul of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative's certiication standards. The letter claims it's just a marketing tool designed to fool green buyers into thinking they're buying wood products from environmentally sensitive companies... but the reality doesn't match the marketing. Given the number of conservation deals made recently by trusts that include requirements for Sustainable Forestry... the scientists' concerns are worth taking a closer look.


Anonymous Jon Christensen said...

Just don't call me late for dinner conversation! I'm interested in good ideas, wherever I can find them. As a journalist, I've never described myself as belonging to any group. But I have often enjoyed the company in the radical center.

10:26 AM  

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