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5 programs to tap for pheasant habitat5 programs to tap for pheasant habitat

South Dakota Game and Fish and NRCS have several program to help establish pheasant habitat on working lands.

December 5, 2018

2 Min Read
HABITAT FIT: Pheasant finds food and winter cover in a farm field.Pheasants Forever

 "A lot of farmers feel like they have to choose between making their farms profitable by growing crops or using the land to support pheasant habitat, and it doesn’t have to be either/or," says Jeff Zimprich, South Dakota state conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "Farmers can have both."

Resources available to help create pheasant habitat on working ag land include:

• South Dakota Game Fish and Parks’ food plot program. The program pays $20 per acre on plots that are 1-10 acres in size. It also includes free corn and sorghum seed for the plots. Food plots must remain standing until April 1 and be planted within half a mile of winter cover. Local Pheasants Forever chapters can also provide food plot seed.

• Natural Resources Conservation Service. Free conservation planning assistance is available from NRCS.

• Environmental Quality Incentive Program. EQIP provides funding to help seed cover crops, establish permanent vegetation and adopt other practices on working farmland that will improve pheasant habitat. "We can take lands that are not idle and still use them for pheasant habitat and raise more birds on those areas because of how they’re being managed," Zimprich says.

• Conservation Stewardship Program. CSP provides financial assistance for many different practices that enhance wildlife habitat.

• Conservation Activity Plan 132. Last year, NRCS piloted a new program called Conservation Activity Plan 132 to help evaluate alternatives for marginal cropland. Technicians use yield maps and input costs to identify areas of fields that might generate more profit if they were enrolled in a conservation program or planted to grass or cover crops rather than grain crops.

• Conservation Reserve Program. Enrolling land in the CRP can help sustain pheasant habitat. Preservation of wetlands and sloughs is important, too, because they can provide excellent winter cover and food for pheasants.

Source: NRCS

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