Another concern of local farmers is the pressure from wildlife on their crops if the refuge is not managed well enough to sustain the wildlife that will inhabit it. Living and farming next to a conservation area has proven difficult for Illinois farmers because they often find that their crops become the primary food source for wildlife at certain times of the year.
Wildlife consuming crops can lead to decreased yields or having to replant acres of crops due to the damage.
Wildlife can also pose administrative and legal issues for farmers depending on the species of the nuisance and a farmer’s ability to hunt to protect their crops. Bans or limits on hunting, or administrative paperwork and permits, take away valuable time from farming. A wildlife refuge should provide enough habitat to support wildlife without negatively impacting the crops that surround it.
Policy 40: Wildlife Management
We support “programs to control wildlife populations on public lands.”
We support “efforts to compensate landowners and operators for damage to agricultural crops, property, and livestock arising from wildlife especially on private property near areas managed by IDNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and acknowledgement by IDNR as well as FWS in the vital role of farm owners and operators in the feeding of the various forms of wildlife present on lands under our control. This should include compensation to owners/operators for the value added to wildlife community present on our lands.”