The Wildlife Society advocates for USDA wildlife program funding

By Laura Bies

The Wildlife Society provided its FY 2021 budget recommendations for USDA conservation programs to Congressional appropriators. ©USDA

As congressional appropriators continue to develop their Fiscal Year 2021 spending bills, The Wildlife Society recommends spending levels for several U.S. Department of Agriculture programs affecting wildlife management and conservation.

“The Wildlife Society supports robust funding for wildlife management and conservation programs,” said Caroline Murphy, government relations manager at The Wildlife Society. “We urge Congress to provide robust funding for the essential work supported and performed by APHIS-Wildlife Services, the Farm Bill conservation programs, and other key programs with the U.S. Department of Agriculture budget.” 

The Society submitted written testimony to the Senate and House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees earlier this month, detailing its requests for funding select programs in the coming year. 

TWS recommends the following funding levels:

  • $112 million for the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Damage Management Program
  • $20 million for APHIS’ Methods Development program
  • $10 million for the Renewable Resources Extension Act Program
  • $41 million for the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program
  • $890 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Private Lands Conservation Operations

The Society also recommends that Congress rejects proposed reductions to Farm Bill conservation programs and instead provides full funding for these key programs. 

In addition to its own written testimony, The Wildlife Society joined with partners and coalitions to support USDA programs that benefit wildlife conservation. 

Members of the National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species (NECIS), currently chaired by TWS staff, submitted written testimony focused on federal programs that have a direct impact on the nation’s ability to combat the introduction and spread of invasive species. NECIS supported funding for APHIS’s programs that combat wood and trees pests, its pest detection programs, and others. 

The Wildlife Society also joined with dozens of other organizations to submit a letter supporting full funding for Farm Bill conservation programs as well as robust funding for NRCS’s conservation operations. 

The administration released its budget request for FY 2021 last month. Congressional appropriators do not have to adopt those recommendations, and congressional leadership has indicated they will most likely not enact the cuts recommended by the administration. 

While appropriators have expressed their desire to continue moving forward with the FY 2021 appropriations process, progress on the spending bills will likely be delayed due to restrictions currently in place to address COVID-19.

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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