Anecdotally, I’ve seen this effect first-hand, staying in small Midwestern towns during pheasant season, when hotels, motels, restaurants and bars are packed with free-spending hunters. For pheasants in particular, CRP land accounts for much of the nesting habitat and available hunting acreage, and significant reductions to the CRP would discourage many hunters from travelling to these destinations.
Speaking with Field and Stream magazine last week, Vilsack said "(Sportsmen) should take some confidence or relief in the numbers we're announcing today, because it shows this administration is committed to CRP and to the outdoors recreational opportunities CRP creates and enhances. (But) they ought to be engaged in encouraging members, especially in the House, not to reduce our commitment to conservation in the future - mainly because it works."
Most of us agree that deficit reduction is critical, and that significant progress will require tough choices and sacrifices, including cuts to programs we actually like. But in the case of CRP, one would hope Congress will consider the long-term direct and indirect benefits, balanced with the costs and the need for robust agricultural production.