Farming, pheasants and working together

If you hunt pheasants, Hettinger County (N.D.) is a cross between Nirvana and Valhalla.

“Hettinger County has long been recognized for its excellent hunting. We live in the center of what is arguably the best pheasant hunting in the United States,” proclaims the city of Mott’s website.

Mott is the county seat of Hettinger County, in western North Dakota.

So I wasn’t surprised to see that Pheasants Forever, which seeks to  enhance North America’s pheasant population, is sponsoring an informational meeting on the Conservation Reserve Program at 11:30 a.m. (MT) May 20 at the Seniors Citizen in Regent, N.D. A free lunch is included.

A new signup period for CRP, a federal program designed to protect fragile land and enhance wildlife habitat, begins May 20,

Margie Herner, Hettinger County executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, which administers CRP, tells me she’ll appear at the meeting to to answer any questions that landowners have about the program.

Matt Flintrop, a Pheasants Forever farm bill biologist, also will attend the meeting. He’ll talk about wildlife-habitat opportunities for landowners, both in CRP and outside it.

Pheasants Forever believes in CRP and is committed to it, but also recognizes that some landowners interested in wildlife habitat want options outside the program, he says.

Pheasants Forever and the Farm Service Agency have a longstanding cooperative agreement. The May 20 meeting in Regent is a good example of that cooperation.

My upcoming column in the May 13 issue of Agweek takes a longer look at the issue of balancing the needs of agriculture with the needs of wildlife.

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