AGRICULTURE

16,500 more acres in South Dakota for wildlife habitat

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Farm Forum

Huron – U.S. Department of Agriculture South Dakota Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Craig Schaunaman, today announced that an additional 16,500 acres are now available in South Dakota for wildlife habitat improvement incentives.

“This allows us the ability to accept applications to enroll more acres in South Dakota for farmers and ranchers interested in protecting local pheasants,” said Schaunaman. “In exchange for creating more grasslands and wetlands for these rural species, USDA will provide participating landowners with rental payments and help with expenses.”

This opportunity comes from the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program, part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) whereby Farm Service Agency contracts with landowners so that environmentally sensitive land is not farmed or ranched, but instead used for conservation.

Program participants establish long-term plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality, or strengthen declining wildlife populations. In return, participants receive annual rental payments between 10 and 15 years.

The SAFE program allows state fish and wildlife agencies, non-profit organizations and other conservation partners to target the Conservation Reserve Program within distinct geographic areas to help wildlife. SAFE is limited to 1.35 million acres nationally, with 97 projects in 36 states and Puerto Rico.

Interested landowners can enroll acres in a designated wildlife project in their state at any time. Participants and land must meet certain eligibility requirements. Other restrictions may apply. For additional details, contact your local Farm Service Agency office at offices.usda.gov or visit the website at www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation.