Pella Chronicle

January 6, 2012

Gaining Ground for Wildlife through the Conservation Reserve Program

The Chronicle

Marion County — Do you miss seeing wildlife on your property?  Miss hearing the crow of a Ring-necked Pheasant, the cheerful choruses of songbirds, or the sight of waterfowl circling over a wetland?  There may be something you as a landowner can do to bring back the wildlife to your property.

SAFE, or State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement, is a continuous practice within the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that allows landowners to restore native grasslands and wetlands in areas where they will most benefit wildlife.  Otherwise known as CP38, SAFE is geared towards increasing nesting, brood-rearing, and winter cover for target species such as the Ring-necked Pheasant, Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, and Dickcissel.  In managing to increase habitat for these species, a host of other species, including waterfowl, also benefit.

As a continuous practice within CRP, landowners can sign up at their local USDA Farm Service Agency at any time throughout the year.  In order for land to be eligible, it must be within three miles of a designated priority area for wildlife and must have been cropped for four out of six years from 2002 – 2007.  

Eligible lands will be enrolled in SAFE for a contract length of 10 to 15 years.  Landowners will receive an annual rental payment established for the three predominant soils on the property as well as a one-time sign-up bonus of $100 per acre.  In addition to the annual payments, landowners will also receive the standard 50% cost-share through CRP and an additional 40% practice incentive payment to establish the practice.

To check if your land is eligible, learn more about SAFE, or to sign up, contact Tyler Harms, Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist with Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever at (515) 961-5264 Ext. 112 or Email Tyler.

Acres are limited and available on a “first-come; first-served” basis.  To bring back the wildlife to your property, enroll in SAFE today.

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 130,000 members and 700 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.