Landowners encouraged to investigate first-come, first-serve CRP practice
Des Moines, Iowa – June 17, 2014 – There is a new upland conservation program to help boost Iowa’s pheasant population. Beginning immediately, landowners can enroll in the Iowa Pheasant Recovery - State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE). Part of the federal Conservation Reserve Program, 50,000 acres have been allocated for enrollment on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pheasants Forever’s eight Farm Bill Biologists in Iowa are helping landowners with enrollment and questions.
A continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) practice, the Iowa Pheasant Recovery SAFE is designed to help increase populations of ring-necked pheasants and other grassland wildlife species. Once the acres are fully enrolled and established, there is the potential for the newly-created upland habitat to produce more than 100,000 additional roosters annually for hunters. And all Iowa citizens will benefit from the water quality improvements and soil erosion reductions that are associated with grassland conservation. There are about 4,100 acres currently enrolled in the program, leaving more than 45,000 available to landowners.
“We’ve heard from landowners who want to return pheasants to their property, and this is the program that’s specifically designed to do it,” says Jared Wiklund, Pheasants Forever’s Regional Representative in southern Iowa, “The Iowa Pheasant Recovery SAFE is open to landowners in most Iowa counties, and our team of Farm Bill Biologists is eager to work with farmers and ranchers to add upland habitat while helping improve their business operations.” Enrollment includes a sign-up bonus payment of $100 per acre. Find a Farm Bill Biologist.
As a continuous CRP practice, the Iowa Pheasant Recovery SAFE sign-up will end once 50,000 acres are under contract. “There will not be a general CRP signup this year so this is an option that landowners with expiring general CRP should consider,” says Todd Bogenschutz, Upland wildlife Biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
If there is not a Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist in your area, please visit your local USDA Service Center for more information about the Iowa Pheasant Recovery SAFE and other continuous CRP practices.
Partners in the Iowa Pheasant Recovery SAFE practice include Pheasants Forever, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA - Iowa Farm Service Agency, USDA - Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Iowa Department of Agriculture - Division of Land Stewardship, Conservation Districts of Iowa and Iowa County Conservation Boards.
Pheasants Forever’s 8 Farm Bill Biologists in Iowa are the result of a collaborative partnership that includes Pheasants Forever chapters, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA - Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA – Farm Service Agency, Iowa Department of Agriculture - Division of Land Stewardship, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and more. The biologists provide Farm Bill program advice for eligibility, application deadlines and other important details for landowners interested in improving wildlife habitat on their property.
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 745 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.