The Bush Administration has scheduled listening sessions on cooperative conservation program. "They are are important sessions for farmers and producers to be involved in," notes a spokesperson.

“The process of developing better and more efficient conservation policies and programs, and opening communication between land users and the government, is vital to growers,” says Bill Chase, with a National Corn Growers' task force. Programs and policy are made by those who show up to discussions; if farmers want to improve conservation policies, they need to be involved, he adds.

The listening sessions will give citizens an opportunity to exchange ideas on incentives, partnership programs and regulations that can improve results and promote cooperative conservation and environmental partnerships.

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, USDA Secretary Mike Johanns, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairman Jim Connaughton are expected to appear at some of the sessions.

The meetings will focus on issues, programs and policies mentioned at the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation. Topics will include:
* How can the federal government enhance wildlife habitat, species protection and other conservation outcomes through regulatory and voluntary conservation programs?
* How can the federal government enhance cooperation among federal agencies and with states, tribes and local communities in the application of environmental protection and conservation laws?
* How can the federal government work with states, tribes and other public- and private-sector partners to improve science used in environmental protection and conservation?
* How can the federal government work cooperatively with businesses and landowners to protect the environment and promote conservation?
* How can the federal government better respect the interests of people with ownership in land, water and other natural resources?

Session’s dates follow. At least four more sessions will be added later.* Aug. 9, Washington State University-Spokane, Spokane, Wash.
* Aug. 14, Public Health and Human Services Building, Helena, Mont.
* Aug. 14, Colkep Center, Roanoke College, Roanoke, Va.
* Aug. 21, Ohio State University Agricultural Administration Building, Columbus, Ohio.
* Aug. 22, Deschutes County Fairgrounds Expo Center, Redmond, Ore.
* Aug. 29, Runge Conservation Nature Center, Jefferson City, Mo.
* Aug. 30, Cherokee Strip Conference Center, Enid, Okla.
* Sept. 13, Shasta County Board of Supervisors Chamber, Redding, Calif.

For more information on the session and to register for the events, please vd

Source: National Corn Growers Association