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Apps Open for Prairie Pothole Region Soil Health and Habitat
Minnesota Ag Connection - 05/19/2020

Pheasants Forever has announced a 60-day application period for farmers and ranchers to enroll in the organization's Soil Health and Habitat Program, funded by pet care leader Purina. The new program, designed to enhance soil health, protect water quality and increase wildlife habitat, invites producers in the Prairie Pothole Region to apply for precision ag business planning and associated habitat incentives on a first-come, first-served basis. The application period will close on June 30, 2020.

Utilizing precision agriculture technology, Pheasants Forever will work with producers and growers to analyze data using Truterra Insights Engine from 30,000 acres of private lands in the Prairie Pothole Region to help enhance soil health, protect water quality and implement conservation planning for 7,200 acres. Results from the analysis will help guide enrollment of low-production acres into the program, providing those landowners a one-time incentive payment for grassland and cover crop mixtures.

"Thanks to the generosity of Purina, this new program is an ideal fit for farmers that are ready to put their precision data to work and help generate profitability and sustainability on low producing acres throughout the farm," said Ryan Heiniger, director of agriculture for Pheasants Forever.

"Purina's partnership with Pheasants Forever helps protect the Prairie Pothole Region. Our collective efforts are reinforcing the role of this critical breeding ground for precious wildlife and habitat while enhancing the growth of healthy ingredients used in our complete and balanced pet food formulas," said Jack Scott, Purina vice president of sustainability and responsible sourcing. "This program showcases the importance of teamwork in conservation. Thank you to Pheasants Forever for championing this cause and to the producers and growers who contribute to its mission."

Soil Health and Habitat Program Guidelines:

Financial Incentives:

- $150/acre one-time payment for habitat in South Dakota or North Dakota

- $250/acre one-time payment for habitat in Iowa or Minnesota

- $150/acre for seed and establishment cost share (based off actual receipts)

- $20/acre for cover crop cost share

Terms

- 5-year contract

- Haying/grazing allowed outside of primary nesting season (April 15th -- July 1st)

Participating farmers will also receive Truterra Insights Engine Stewardship Report Card that includes a sustainability score and profits insights. Farmers will agree to provide agronomic practice information to establish baseline metrics

For more information about enrollment opportunities for Pheasants Forever's Soil Health and Habitat Program, please contact Ryan Heiniger, Director of Agriculture by email at rheiniger@pheasantsforever.org or by phone at (319) 768-8348.

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