Pheasants Forever’s Farm Bill Biologist Program Helps Improve Over One Million Acres
Six-year old program improving how conservation is delivered to land and landowners.
Saint Paul, Minn. – -(AmmoLand.com)- Improve how conservation programs are delivered to landowners and producers. That’s the goal of Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever’s (QF) Farm Bill Biologist program, a program that has, in just six years of existence, accounted for over one million acres of land being improved for wildlife. With the spring habitat improvement season here, Farm Bill Biologists are on the front line working with more acres and landowners than ever before.
The Farm Bill Biologist program is designed to educate farmers and landowners about the benefits of conservation programs, as well as assist those farmers and landowners after programs have been implemented. Pheasants Forever first began employing Farm Bill Biologists in 2003 and now has 35 Farm Bill Biologists working in seven states â?” Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Farm Bill Biologists have contacted and consulted 21,004 landowners, resulting in the improvement of 1,107,797 acres of land for wildlife.
“We’ve designed our Farm Bill Biologist program as the best possible resource for conservation information; one that is easy and user-friendly,” said Jim Inglis, PF/QF Farm Bill Biologist Coordinator. “Our Farm Bill Biologists possess the necessary knowledge of federal, state, and local conservation programs. More importantly, they are making local contacts and promoting programs on a personal basis â?” over 150,000 hours have been spent with 21,000 individual landowner contacts. That’s the formula helping landowners find the right conservation programs to meet their personal habitat and land-use goals.”
Primarily, the biologists work to accelerate enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and other Farm Bill conservation provisions that work with farm operations. Farm Bill Biologists add wildlife technical assistance in USDA offices to assist the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) and other conservation partners with the increasing wildlife focus as part of the Farm Bill and various state programs. Funding sources for the Farm Bill Biologist program are diverse, from state wildlife departments and/or soil and water conservation districts, contribution agreements or contacts with the USDA’s NRCS, local PF/QF chapters, watershed groups, foundations, and other state and local partners.
With the early success of the Farm Bill Biologist program in seven states, PF/QF envisions the program growing into success stories for additional states. “We are interested in adding more Farm Bill Biologist positions in new states and furthering our wildlife habitat mission,” Inglis said.
For more information on the Farm Bill Biologist program, contact Jim Inglis, PF/QF Farm Bill Biologist Coordinator, at (419) 569-1096 or via email at [email protected]
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has 130,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.