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Federal Farm Bill Conservation Program

"THE FARM BILL FACTOR"

The conservation programs of the 2008 Farm Bill help South Dakota private landowners create wildlife habitat on their land. The programs give producers solutions for soil erosion and water quality concerns.

Many conservation programs exist in the current Farm Bill, but the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is the most widely recognized and most successful program for the wildlife resources of South Dakota. With approximately 1.1 million acres of CRP currently on the landscape in South Dakota, large blocks of undisturbed nesting cover provided by CRP has allowed South Dakota's pheasant population to reach 35-year highs, with hunters harvesting approximately 2.1 millions pheasants in 2007 (SD GFP Pheasant Statistics).

CRP containing prairie pothole wetlands found over much of eastern South Dakota, has proven beneficial to other wetland/grassland dependent species.The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has credited CRP with contributing as many as 2 million ducks per year to the North American waterfowl population or 30% more than if we didn't have CRP. 

Other Farm Bill programs that provide or enhance wildlife habitat include the Wetland Reserve Program, Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Grassland Reserve Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

SD GFP's Private Lands Habitat Program is designed to complement existing conservation programs offered by the Farm Bill.Congress is currently in the process of developing the 2012 Farm Bill.  SD GFP will remain flexible and adapt our current habitat programs to fully maximize the new Farm Bill.

Contact a Farm Bill Biologist for more information...

FARM BILL PROGRAMS

USDA Farm Service Agency

USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM

USDA Farm Service Agency's (FSA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years.

CONTINUOUS CONSERVE RESERVE PROGRAM

The Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP) is a voluntary program, available at any time, which helps agricultural producers safeguard environmentally sensitive land. CRP participants plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance.

Eligible conservation practices include riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers, wetland buffers, filter strips, wetland restoration, grass waterways, shelterbelts, living snow fence, contour grass strips, salt tolerant vegetation, and shallow water areas for wildlife.

STATE ACRES FOR WILDLIFE ENHANCEMENT (SAFE)

South Dakota Pheasants SAFE
The goal of the South Dakota Pheasants SAFE project is to enroll 50,200 acres in CRP to provide block grass acreages for ring-necked pheasants and other upland birds in the form of nesting, brood-rearing, winter-roosting and escape cover. This will help increase the overall population of ring-necked pheasants and other economically significant species such as sharp tail grouse, prairie chicken and upland nesting ducks.

Western South Dakota Grassland Wildlife Habitat SAFE
The goal of the western South Dakota Grassland Wildlife Habitat SAFE project is to enroll 18,000 acres in CRP to provide grassland cover in cropland for grassland dependent bird species for breeding, nesting, brood rearing, winter and foraging cover.  Specifically, the short-eared owl, grasshopper sparrow, dickcissel, bobolink, and sharp-tailed grouse prefer to nest in tall, dense cover such as is typically provided by CRP and are of high or moderate conservation priority in South Dakota.  It will also develop habitat for non-game grassland birds, improve water quality and reduce soil erosion.

South Dakota Sagebrush SAFE
The goal of the South Dakota Sagebrush SAFE project is to enroll 500 acres in CRP to benefit the sage grouse populations. It would restore cropland to sagebrush habitat suitable for sage grouse and other sagebrush obligate birds such as sage sparrows and sage thrashers. Other sagebrush-associated wildlife will benefit such as sharp-tailed grouse, gray partridge, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, sagebrush vole and other small mammals. One of the measurable outcomes will be to stabilize or increase the number of sage grouse leks (mating areas) and to increase the number of sage grouse in the project area.

CRP Duck Nesting Habitat Initiative (Fact Sheet) Map CP-37
The Duck Nesting Habitat Initiative aims to restore up to 150,000 acres of certain wetlands located outside of the 100-year floodplain in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Restoring these wetlands will provide nesting ducks with critical habitat, nesting cover, security from predators, and food.

CRP Wetlands Restoration Initiative
The Wetlands Restoration Initiative aims to restore up to 250,000 acres of wetlands and playa lakes that are located outside of the 100-year floodplain.

CRP Farmable Wetlands Program
The Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP) is a voluntary program to restore farmable wetlands and associated buffers by improving the land's hydrology and vegetation.

CRP Northern Bobwhite Quail Habitat Initiative (Fact Sheet)
The Northern Bobwhite Quail Habitat Initiative is aimed at creating 350,000 acres of habitat for the northern bobwhite quail. The initiative introduces a conservation practice intended to create 250,000 acres of early successional grass buffers along agricultural field borders.

OTHER USDA PROGRAMS

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that assists farmers and ranchers with implementing new conservation measures to address their natural resource concerns. EQIP promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals while optimizing environmental benefits.

Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)
The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property. The program will conserve vulnerable grasslands from conversion to cropland or other uses and conserve valuable grasslands by helping maintain viable ranching operations.

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial assistance to eligible landowners.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)
The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program that provides both technical and financial assistance to private landowners to develop and improve fish and wildlife habitat.

Farm Bill Biologists have more information

Contact a Farm Bill Biologist for more information...

Contact a GFP Wildlife Habitat Biologist...

For more information on any of these programs.