GFP food-plot program offers free seed

Staff reports
Farm Forum

PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department’s food-plot program was developed nearly 50 years ago to assist landowners in providing winter food sources for wildlife. Landowners can receive free corn or sorghum seed to plant each spring plus a payment to help offset planting costs. The program took a step forward in 2015, offering landowners a third seed option, called the brood mix.

The brood mix is an annual mixture of cover-crop species (i.e. canola, flax, millet, radish, sunflower) designed to flower from spring through fall and produce seed for wildlife to forage on during winter. By flowering, the brood mix provides pollinator habitat that traditional corn and sorghum food plots lack.

Pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies thrive in areas with flowering plants. Insects comprise nearly 100 percent of a pheasant chick’s diet, which means habitat with high insect numbers are a key component of pheasant production.

Landowners enrolled in the program still retain and may regulate all hunting access privileges; however, they cannot charge anyone a fee in exchange for hunting access.

Seed is typically distributed in May, so it is important that interested landowners get signed up as soon as possible. For more information and to find a habitat advisor in your area, visit habitat.sd.gov or contact a GFP biologist at 605-353-7145.