With General CRP Signup Looming, PF and QF in Iowa Double Capacity for Conservation

Farm Bill Biologist Partnership expands to 26 counties, provides technical assistance to Iowa producers

Pictured from left to right: Shane Weinberg, Kelsey Drey, Jared Elm, Emery Davis, Jake Holt, Jason Andersen, and Nic Salick
Pictured from left to right: Shane Weinberg, Kelsey Drey, Jared Elm, Emery Davis, Jake Holt, Jason Andersen, and Nic Salick
Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever

Des Moines, IA -(AmmoLand.com)- The Farm Bill Biologist Partnership in Iowa welcomes seven new Farm Bill biologists to accelerate voluntary conservation program enrollment with Iowa producers.

Working in joint capacity with Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), local chapters of Pheasants Forever, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency, the new biologists will assist landowners in outreach, planning, developing, and funding habitat improvements on private lands, including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup to be held December 1, 2015, through February 26, 2016.

“This partnership is another example of how state and federal agencies are partnering with non-government organizations to get voluntary conservation on the land and help Iowa reach its nutrient reduction goals,” said Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture. 

“The NRCS is pleased to work with our partners, including Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, to make conservation planning help available to more Iowa farmers and landowners,” said Marty Adkins, Iowa NRCS assistant state conservationist for special projects. “Farming and conservation practices that protect our water and soil resources generally help wildlife, too. Targeted conservation will help solve problems and be cost-effective.”

The Farm Bill Biologist Partnership has provided a valuable service to Iowa landowners interested in voluntary conservation programs such as CRP, which includes the popular Iowa Pheasant Recovery SAFE practice. In fiscal year 2015 alone, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Farm Bill biologists in Iowa assisted landowners to enroll 24,639 acres, habitat that is supporting the rebounding pheasant population. Iowa’s newest hires hope to double down on this number with added capacity for conservation program delivery. 

“We are fortunate to have this strong and growing partnership to work even closer with Iowa’s farmers and landowners to help them reach their conservation goals for private lands,” said Ryan Heiniger, north region manager for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever based in Burlington, Iowa.

Farm Bill Biologist Partnership New Hires:

  • Jake Holt – Working for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Sidney, Iowa, Holt is responsible for conservation program technical assistance throughout Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, and Page counties in southwest Iowa. Holt received his B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from Northwest Missouri State University. A former employee with the Fremont County SWCD and NRCS, Holt gained extensive conservation management experience before joining Pheasants Forever in Nebraska as a farm bill biologist in 2005. Holt brings a wealth of Farm Bill implementation experience to his new role with Pheasants Forever in Iowa and started his new position on November 2. For more information, contact Jake Holt at [email protected] or (712) 374-2014 (ext. 3)
  • Emery Davis – Working for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Marion, Iowa, Davis will assist landowners with designing and funding habitat improvements on private lands throughout Benton, Blackhawk, Jones, and Linn counties. An Iowa native, Davis graduated from Central College with a B.A. in Biology. Davis gained extensive conservation management experience through his previous work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, AmeriCorps, Pioneer HI-Bred, and Stantec. Recently, Davis worked as an environmental specialist for the State Hygienic Lab at the University of Iowa before beginning his new position with Pheasants Forever on November 2. For more information, contact Emery Davis at [email protected] or (319) 377-5960.
  • Jared Elm – As the new Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Farm Bill biologist in Carroll, Iowa, Elm will provide conservation program delivery services for landowners in Buena Vista, Calhoun, Carroll, and Sac counties. A native of Williams, Iowa, Elm received his B.S. in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University. Elm gained valuable conservation program experience through his previous work with the Iowa Department of Transportation as a Geographic Information Systems analyst. Recently, Elm acted as the AmeriCorps stewardship coordinator with the Antrim Conservation District in Michigan before returning to Iowa and starting as a Farm Bill biologist on November 2. For more information, contact Jared Elm at [email protected] or (641) 373-3944.
  • Jason Andersen – Working for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Audubon, Iowa, Andersen will provide conservation technical assistance to landowners in Audubon, Cass, and Shelby counties. Andersen attended the University of Nebraska-Omaha where his Master’s thesis research focused on the effects of flooding disturbance on breeding grassland birds. His previous conservation experience includes various positions with DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge and the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board. More recently, Andersen worked with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources as a survey technician for a prairie butterfly inventory project in the Loess Hills. Andersen started as a Pheasants Forever Farm Bill biologist on November 2, and can be reached at [email protected] or(712) 563-4248 (ext. 110).
  • Nic Salick – As the new Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Farm Bill biologist in Logan, Iowa, Salick will provide conservation program delivery services for landowners in Harrison, Monona, and Pottawattamie counties. A Wisconsin native, Salick received his B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Previously, Salick served as a Scaled Quail research technician for New Mexico State University, and assisted with a pheasant and hunter survey project for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Salick also worked as a landowner liaison for the Missouri River Bird Observatory before starting his new role with Pheasants Forever on November 2. For more information, contact Nic Salick at [email protected] or (712) 644-2210.
  • Kelsey Drey – Working for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Greenfield, Iowa, Kelsey Drey will provide conservation technical assistance throughout Adair, Madison, Ringgold, and Union counties. A native of Early, Iowa, Drey received her B.S. in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University before moving on to Mississippi State University to conduct thesis research on bobwhite quail. Throughout 2014, Drey worked for Pheasants Forever in Nebraska as a coordinating wildlife biologist before joining the Iowa Farm Bill Biologist Partnership on October 27. For more information, contact Kelsey Drey at [email protected] or (712) 660-0880.
  • Shane Weinberg – As the new Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Farm Bill biologist in Centerville, Iowa, Weinberg will provide conservation program delivery services for landowners in Appanoose, Davis, Monroe, and Wapello counties. Weinberg received his B.S. in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University and his conservation experience includes working as a wildlife biologist intern on a 100,000-acre ranch in Texas. Most recently, Weinberg was employed with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources as a natural resources aide for the Upper Iowa Wildlife Unit near Highlandville before starting his position with Pheasants Forever on November 2. For more information, contact Shane Weinberg at [email protected] or (641) 856-3893.

About Pheasants Forever:

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $577 million on 489,000 habitat projects benefiting over 12 million acres nationwide.

For more information, visit: www.PheasantsForever.org.