June 30 is the deadline to apply for Pheasants Forever’s Soil Health and Habitat Program, which will pay you to plant grass, cover crops or wildflowers on marginal cropland.
PF and its operating partners — TruTerra Insights or South Dakota State Unvirsity Extension Service — will help you analyze precision farming field data to identify marginal crop ground and project how putting it to a conservation use will improve your bottom line.
PF will also pay perennial grass and wildflower seed and establishment costs up to $150 per acre. There’s a $150-per-acre sign-up incentive and an annual $20-per-acre payment for cover crops. There’s a maximum number of acres that can be enrolled.
Funding is coming from several sources include the program sponsors, which includes include Purina, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the 2nd Century Habitat Fund.
You’ll have to agree to leave the land in grass for five years. You will be able to hay or graze it after the nesting season.
Land in the Prairie Pothole region of South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota is eligible for the program. PF hopes to enroll 30,000 acres.
To participate, you must have at least one year of precision yield data available through the John Deere Operations Center, Climate Field View or another platform. You also will have to agree to share the data with PF and TruTerra Insights or SDSU’s Every Acre Counts program.
“This is a great opportunity to put data to use and find opportunities to use conservation practices to reduce input costs resulting in greater profits for the producer and increase soil and water conservation on their acres, truly a win-win for all involved,” says Matt Morlock, Pheasants Forever’s South Dakota state coordinator.
For more information and to sign up, contact Morlock at 605-881-8258; Anthony Bly, SDSU Extension soil health specialist and Every Acre Counts coordinator, at 605-690-4563; or your local PF biologist.