East River landowners can begin enrolling their cropland in a new "working lands" program that's part of Gov. Kristi Noem's Second Century Initiative to boost pheasant hunting in the state.
In the new "Second Century Habitat Program," participants will agree to establish a perennial grassland cover on cropland acres for five years and will receive from the state free seed and a one-time $150 per acre payment at the beginning of the contract, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department announced last week.
The program provides "a short-term working lands conservation alternative to cropping marginal lands," the GFP Department said in the announcement. The program is open to all cropland located in eastern South Dakota, as well as Stanley, Jones, Lyman, Tripp and Gregory counties, according to the GFP. The initial goal is to enroll 5,000 acres in the program and GFP staff already has some landowners on board.
The focus at the program's start is on those areas because it's the primary pheasant range, although the habitat will benefit a diversity of species, said Tom Kirschenmann, the deputy director of GFP's Wildlife Division. But the intent is to expand the program into more areas of the state as they find more money for the program, he said.Read the rest of the Argus Leader article