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PF Soil Health & Habitat Program

May 04, 2020

With generous funding from Purina and support from many other partners, Pheasants Forever has created a new Soil Health and Habitat Program.  This program – focused in the prairie pothole region, aims to collaborate with 60 farmers in the four states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa in the next 3 years to help analyze 30,000 acres of precision ag data and rebuild soil health, improve water quality and increase biodiversity on approximately 7,200 acres. The goal of the program is to rebuild soil organic matter, sequester carbon, increase water infiltration and provide quality wildlife habitat on the least productive cropland acres while simultaneously improving profitability and sustainability. 


Application Details
Application sign-up begins May 1, 2020.  All applications must be received by Tuesday, June 30, 2020.  Online applications are preferred and can be completed at: www.pheasantsforever.org/soilhealthandhabitat
Hard copy applications should be sent to: Karen Weisbeck, 2301 Research Parkway, Ste 152, Brookings, SD 57006 or emailed to: kweisbeck@pheasantsforever.org.
Eligible geography - Counties shaded green on above map in ND, MN, SD and IA known as the Prairie Pothole Region

Program Details (Once Accepted)
  1. Precision Ag Data Analysis – Participating farmers agree to collaborate with Pheasants Forever and TruTerra LLC to analyze data for profitability and environmental stewardship benchmarking using the TruTerra Insights Engine.  Eligible farmers must have at least 1 year of precision yield data through John Deere Operations Center, Climate Field View, or other precision platform and the farmer agrees to share the data with TruTerra.  For more information about TruTerra, please refer to: www.truterrainsights.com/ or www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAkkcYFI7ko
  2. Results from the precision analysis with assistance from TruTerra Insights Engine will guide the selection and prioritization of acres that could benefit the greatest by adoption of the Soil Health and Habitat program components.  This is a farmer-led process, assisted by PF biologists and precision specialist.  The Soil Health and Habitat Program includes:
Perennial wildlife habitat cover consisting of grasses and wildflowers designed by PF biologists:
+ Seed and establishment cost not to exceed $150/acre based off actual receipts;
+ $150/acre one-time sign-up incentive in ND & SD;
+ $250/acre one-time sign-up incentive in MN & IA;
                Cover crop
                + $20/acre for cover crop seed cost-share.
 
Terms – Contract length between farmer and PF for perennial habitat acres is 5 years.  Haying & grazing outside of the primary nesting season is allowed as part of rebuilding soil health and incorporating livestock into the regenerative process.  Funding available based on competitive application sign-up and batching period.  Pheasants Forever reserves the right to accept or reject all applications.

 **Optional Public Hunting Access – Additional financial incentive payments may be available through State Wildlife Agency Walk-In Public hunting access programs. PF Staff can aid with this step and application where available.  Access for hunting is entirely at the discretion of the landowner/operator for Soil Health and Habitat Program cooperators.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

 
Q: How many acres can I enroll?
A: Subject to additional funding being secured through new partners to allow increased enrollment, 20 acres maximum in the habitat portion and 100 acres for cover crops per cooperating farmer.
 
Q: Do I have to enroll in both habitat and cover crops?
A: No. However, in order to be eligible for cost share assistance on cover crops you must enroll some acres into perennial habitat.
 
Q: What if I am receiving other financial assistance for cover crops?
A: In order to maximize benefits and impact the largest number of acres, the Soil Health and Habitat Program will not provide cost-share for acres that are currently receiving cost-share or incentives through other programs.
 
Q: Are there requirements for cover crop mixes and management stipulations?
A: No.  Pheasants Forever staff are pleased to work with the cooperating farmers to design cover crop mixes and plans to meet the landowner’s objectives while delivering ancillary benefits to pheasants and other wildlife
 
Q: What if I don’t have precision ag data?
A: For the Soil Health and Habitat program we are focusing our efforts on utilizing the precision ag technology to identify the least productive acres. Without precision ag data we cannot meet the objectives of this program. However, Pheasants Forever has staff throughout the project area work with other voluntary conservation programs and we welcome the opportunity to assist you in finding additional programs that may offer cost-share assistance.  To find a PF staff nearest you: https://www.pheasantsforever.org/Habitat/findBiologist.aspx
 
Q: What if part of my farming operation is located outside of the green shaded area on the project map?
A: As long as one field of your operation is located within the PPR, you are eligible to participate in the Soil Health and Habitat Program. Eligible counties in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa include: http://ppjv.org/assets/pdf/PPJV_Counties.pdf

Q: Is hunting access required?
A: No. However, if you are interested in learning about additional incentives that may be available through Walk-In Access programs in each of the 4 states, we can connect you with the appropriate agency and assist you in this opportunity.

For More Information about the PF Soil Health and Habitat Program, contact:
General Questions: Ryan Heiniger – Director of Agriculture, rheiniger@pheasantsforever.org or 319-768-8348
 


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