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PF release: New Continuous CRP SAFE acres started Jan. 1

Landowners in Minnesota now have expanded opportunities to voluntarily enroll property in a popular Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) practice after the first of the year.

Thanks to a new allocation of CRP acres by the USDA's Farm Service Agency, the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) practice — Back Forty Pheasant Habitat — now has 50,000 acres available for enrollment to landowners interested in creating and conserving upland habitat for pheasants, quail and other grassland wildlife.

"CRP SAFE acres invest in quality habitat for grassland birds, the program is open for enrollment until allocations are reached, and the current rental rates are attractive," Eran Sandquist, state coordinator for Pheasants Forever in Minnesota, said in the release. "If landowners have an expiring CRP contract, SAFE — or one of the other continuous CRP practices — is something they should strongly consider."

Created nearly a decade ago, SAFE practices allowed states to design CRP practices that maintained the program's hallmark soil and water conservation benefits while targeting specific wildlife species. Because of continued, and in some cases, rapid upland habitat loss, many states tailored their programs to benefit pheasants and quail. The nationwide SAFE allocation is 2.45 million acres with more than 760,000 acres currently available to landowners for enrollment — 50,000 acres have been earmarked for Minnesota's Back Forty Pheasant SAFE.

Those interested in enrolling should contact a Pheasants Forever Biologist. Josh Meissner is the contact locally as the Douglas County biologist at (320) 763-3191 or by email at jmeissner@pheasantsforever.org.

Pheasants Forever Farm Bill biologists are specialized staff in conservation programs and habitat planning on private lands. Their purpose is to provide landowners technical assistance on voluntary conservation programs through federal, state and local sources. Landowners interested in learning more about Minnesota's State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement practice, or other conservation program opportunities, should contact a PF biologist for more information.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

(320) 763-1229
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