2010-05-27 / Local & State

PA Farm Bureau Alerts Farmers To DMAP Program Changes

PFB questions Game Commission changes without hearing or public comments

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) is alerting farmers who participate in the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) that the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) has shortened the time farmers have to apply for the program by 20 days, reduced the number of available permits and changed the way it prioritizes farms that may participate in DMAP.

“We are concerned that numerous farmers who struggle with crop losses caused by deer will be prevented from using this popular and effective deer control program due to changes by the commission,” said PFB Local Affairs Director Jeff Grove.

The PGC recently issued a news release indicating that the deadline for receipt of DMAP applications has been changed from July 1 to June 12. The news release also revealed that limits have been placed on the number of DMAP permits for each Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) and that priority for permits will be given to landowners who participate in the PGC’s Forest-Game, Farm-Game or Safety Zone programs.

“The Game Commission should have provided the public with proper notice and reasonable opportunity for public comment on its proposed changes in DMAP regulations before voting, as is normally done by the Commission and other state agencies. The actions taken by the Commission to propose and adopt changes to the DMAP program at the same meeting fundamentally defies principles of fairness and democracy that state agencies should be protecting in their rulemaking process. We’re worried that farmers who have traditionally used the program may miss the new deadline or fail to qualify for DMAP permits due to changes adopted through the process that completely shut out public input,” added Grove.

Farm Bureau noted that the changes to DMAP described in PGC’s news release were initially offered and adopted at the Commission’s April meeting.

According to the Game Commission, DMAP helps landowners achieve deer population adjustments consistent with their landuse goals. The program only allows the harvest of antlerless deer (or doe) and under no circumstances may an antlered deer (buck) be taken with a DMAP permit. “Farmers use the program to reduce deer herd populations, which cause millions of dollars in crop losses each year on farms across Pennsylvania,” concluded Grove.

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of nearly 47,000 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.

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