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America relies on farmers and ranchers not only for food production but also for the preservation of key wildlife habitats. Grassland birds depend on land owned and maintained by ranchers and farmers. When farmers lose their land, it is a tragedy for them, for us and for wildlife.
Audubon has worked with ranchers and farmers for decades with excellent and mutually beneficial results. We have been strong supporters of federal assistance to agriculture and for agricultural conservation programs.
Critics of Ford’s donation claim it is being used to put farmers and ranchers out of business. Ford’s Audubon donation is restricted; it may be used only for projects Ford agrees to fund. Those projects (bird-monitoring programs here and children’s education programs in Latin America) have nothing to do with ranching or farming. We deeply appreciate Ford’s generosity and its commitment to bird conservation and environmental education.
Audubon has a 100-year reputation as a moderate, mainstream group. We are dedicated to conservation and education, not stripping landowners of property rights.