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Recent News Articles and Press Releases

Find the latest news as it relates to habitat news and programs along with conservation efforts across South Dakota. If you need more information or would like to request an interview on information related to Habitat Pays, please contact: Emily Kiel with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks or Maggie Stensaas with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.

  • April 24, 2018
    Cover Crops Help Crop Rotation in Spink County
    A month after planting a cover crop mix, Brian Johnson’s field was thick with leafy radishes and bright green spears of sorghum Sudan grass. In another month, the cows would be turned out for a few weeks of grazing this leafy mix.

  • September 7, 2017
    Pheasants Forever's Farm Bill Biologists
    The inception of the Farm Bill Biologist positions in South Dakota began in 2003 when Pheasants Forever hired its first four biologists in the state. Since then, Pheasants Forever has expanded its coverage area and increased its efficiency with the addition of nine biologists spanning from state border to state border.

  • August 3, 2017
    Applications Now Open For Buffer Strip Incentives; Daugaard Administration Rolls Out Interactive Map
    South Dakotans can now apply to receive riparian buffer strip property tax incentives, Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today.
  • August 2, 2017
    Pheasant Forever, biologists looking for businesses to help fundmore public hunting land
    Local Pheasants Forever chapters will work to collect funds from local businesses that will be added to state dollars and further incentivize landowners to sign up for the Walk In Areas program. 
  • May 29, 2017
    Ducks Unlimited invests in local environment
    A joint effort between Ducks Unlimited, South Dakota State University, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the Natural Resources Conservation Service is helping farmers create a better habitat for wildlife in eastern South Dakota.
  • March 28, 2017
    Finalist named for 2017 SD Leopold Conservation Award
    Sand County Foundation, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition are proud to announce the finalists for the 2017 Leopold Conservation Award®, which honors South Dakota landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.
  • March 7, 2017
    NRCS SD Announces New Request for Proposals for 2017 Conservation Innovation Grants
  • September 12, 2016
    Habitat Tip: The Life History of Monarch Butterflies

  • July 6, 2016
    What to do with ditches: conservation group eyes solution for SD ditch mowing dilemma
    Road ditches can be great wildlife habitat, which is why it’s illegal to mow them before the middle of July in South Dakota.

  • June 30, 2016
    Pheasant Experts: Planned Habitat Vital, Worth The Effort
    The pheasant is not only important in South Dakota for its cultural value, but also for what it contributes to the economy.

  • April 22, 2016
    Celebrating Agriculture's Leadership in Conservation
    Our dedicated farming and ranching families, many of whom have been on the land for generations, know how important it is to take care of the land because their livelihoods depend on it. As we celebrate our natural resources on Earth Day, we should applaud stewards of working lands for protecting our land and water.

  • April 19, 2016
    Sportsman boosts bees as part of wildlife work
    Sheldon, 73, has been working with federal programs in recent years to restore his pastures and cropland into habitat that supports a diverse wildlife population, from eagles to bumblebees and from deer to turkeys.

  • April 15, 2016
    How Habitat Pays
    South Dakotans want to be good stewards of their land but sometimes aren’t aware of their options. We want to use best practices, but sometimes we’re not sure what is best. That’s why the state departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks recently launched the Habitat Pays initiative.
  • April 5, 2016
    Students learn rangleland management skills at Youth Range Camp
    The 40th annual South Dakota Youth Range Camp will be held June 8-10, 2016 at the Lamphere Ranch near Sturgis.

  • March 17, 2016
    New South Dakota program focuses on developing habitat
    A new state of South Dakota program is trying to increase the number of acres set aside for wildlife habitat.
  • February 23, 2016
    How to develop, maintain wildlife habitat
    State officials will be offering training opportunities next month for South Dakota farmers and ranchers interested in developing and maintaining wildlife habitat on their land.
  • January 29, 2016
    Conservation Reserve Program Workshops for Landowners
    Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) workshops are underway across the state; hosted by Pheasants Forever habitat advisors for landowners interested in enrolling land into the program.

  • January 27, 2016
    SD Corn, NRCS team up to increase sustainability
    The South Dakota Corn Growers Association and South Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service will be working together over the next several years to help educate farmers about proven practices and programs that protect water quality, improve soil health and increase profitability potential.

  • January 25, 2016
    GFP Offers Free Food Plot Brood Mix
    The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is offering a new brood mix to help provide for wildlife in the spring and summer.
  • January 25, 2016
    Precision agriculture highlights Pheasants Forever panel
    Precision farming is good for habitat conservation.
  • January 25, 2016
    Understanding Conservation Easements
    Conservation easements are a common, yet often misunderstood, real estate transaction tool. This article is intended to provide factual information regarding the rules and regulations that govern the use of conservation easements in South Dakota.
  • January 15, 2016
    GFP Will Host Landowner Workshops as part of Habitat Pays
    GFP will host four weeks of workshops in Sioux Falls aimed at providing habitat information to interested landowners.
  • January 15, 2016
    SD Conservation Fund Makes Initial Investments for Pheasant Hunting Traditions
    Targeting more than 6,000 acres of habitat project enhancements for upland wildlife, $290,000 in SDCF grant monies will be used by Pheasants Forever to establish dense nesting cover and brood rearing habitat for ring-necked pheasants, pollinators, and other wildlife..

  • January 13, 2016
    Habitat Workshop in Centerville
    The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department (GFP) will host a Habitat Pays Workshop on Jan. 25, from 4-7 p.m. at the Centerville American Legion for area landowners and agricultural producers.
  • January 11, 2016
    South Dakota Habitat conservation Fund Approves Over $600,000 in Grants
    The South Dakota Habitat Conservation Fund Board of Directors recently approved a total of $608,000 in grants to improve wildlife habitat across the state. This is the Fund’s first grant cycle for projects being completed in 2016.
  • December 23, 2015
    South Dakota producers see benefits after 30 years of CRP
    CRP, or the Conservation Reserve Program, turned 30 this month. For three decades, producers have been able to take marginal cropland out of production in exchange for payments from the federal government.
  • December 17, 2015
    New SDSU Survey on Land Use Decisions Highlights Role of Grasslands
    SDSU Economist Larry Janssen and co-authors recently published the results of a survey conducted in the spring of 2015 on land use decision making by producers.
  • December 7, 2015
    NRCS Cropping Systems Inventory: Landowner and agency cooperation important for soil health
    December 1st the release of the latest South Dakota Cropping Systems Inventory (formerly referred to as the “CTIC residue management survey”) at the joint annual meeting of Ag Horizons and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts. The data contained in this inventory is valuable to anyone participating in agriculture and natural resource conservation in South Dakota.
  • December 1, 2015
    USDA Begins 49th Enrollment Period for the Conservation Reserve Program
    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today reminded farmers and ranchers that the next general enrollment period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) begins today, Dec. 1, 2015, and ends on Feb. 26, 2016.
  • 2015 Fall Conservation Digest News
    Gov. Daugaard Challenges Board To Raise Conservation Funds; Pledges To Match Fundraising Goal
    In late Aug., Gov. Dennis Daugaard issued a challenge to the South Dakota Habitat Conservation Board to raise $1 million more in private money for habitat conservation. The Governor pledged to match the donations for the South Dakota Habitat Conservation Fund with $1 million in state funds, if the group can meet the goal. Find the latest news as it relates to habitat news and programs along with conservation efforts across
    The Largest Wildlife Habitat Program in the Country Celebrates 30 Years
    This year marks 30 years since this program was created as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It is the largest wildlife habitat conservation program in the U.S.; paying farmers and ranchers to remove agricultural lands from production and establish grassland, trees and restore wetlands for 10 to 15 years at a time.
  • October 2, 2015
    Gov. Daugaard Introduces Habitat Pays Initiative
    Gov. Dennis Daugaard today announced the launch of a campaign to help South Dakota landowners maintain and improve habitat on their property. Habitat Pays is a campaign led by the departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks that connects farmers and ranchers with tools to help them develop and maintain wildlife habitat on their land.

  • September 21, 2015
    New Grassland CRP Offers Grazing Options
    While not perfect, this new program takes a major step toward improved management and utilization of expiring CRP and GRP acres under a ‘working lands’ philosophy while retaining the inherent value of the grass cover for wildlife, water and recreation. This new program was brought about largely by feedback provided by CRP landowners and conservation groups alike.

  • September 4, 2015
    Gov. Daugaard Column: Preserving a Century Long Tradition
    Next month, tens of thousands of hunters will take to the fields and grasslands of South Dakota to seek a colorful upland game bird - the rooster pheasant. Even with the increase in pheasant numbers this year, we still need to be proactive about improving habitat. Not surprisingly, in addition to habitat, pheasant numbers have a lot to do with the weather. South Dakota has experienced a couple of good years for pheasant nesting thanks to favorable weather conditions; but we can’t risk our pheasant hunting future by counting on that weather pattern to continue.

  • September 2, 2015
    Gov. Daugaard Challenges Board to Raise Habitat Conservation Funds, Pledges to Match Fundraising Goal
    Gov. Dennis Daugaard issued a challenge last week to the South Dakota Habitat Conservation Board to raise $1 million more in private money for habitat conservation. The Governor pledged to match the donations for the South Dakota Habitat Conservation Fund with $1 million in state funds, if the group can meet the goal.

  • August 27, 2015
    2015 Pheasant Brood Survey Indicates Pheasant Numbers are up 42 Percent
    The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has completed the annual pheasant brood survey and the results show a 42 percent increase in the statewide pheasants-per-mile (PPM) index from 2014.

  • August 26, 2015
    Kopriva Angus Ranch Video on the 2015 Environmental Stewardship Program Award
    The Kopriva Angus Ranch, near Raymond, South Dakota, is the 2015 Environmental Stewardship Program Region 7 Winner. The family is being honored for their environmental stewardship by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and many national sponsors. The Koprivas were nominated by the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association with endorsement from many private and state and federal public entities.

  • August 26, 2015
    Using Grazing Stick to Assess Pasture Forage
    Assessing pasture forage is a key step in planning grazing strategies. Although most producers understand the importance of assessing production, few invest the time necessary to clip and weigh vegetation within and across seasons in order to build a long-term database for their pastures.

  • July 30, 2015
    USDA Offers Winter Wheat Crop Insurance for All South Dakota Farmers
    Producers across the state will now be able to insure their winter wheat crop for 2016. State Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch says the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently decided to expand crop insurance coverage for winter wheat in all South Dakota counties for the next year's crop.

  • July 27, 2015
    NRCS 5 Steps to Meet Conservation Compliance
    To be eligible to receive many USDA benefits, including loans, disaster assistance, federal crop insurance premium subsidies and conservation assistance, you must comply with requirements for highly erodible lands and wetlands. The purpose of the conservation compliance provisions is to reduce soil loss on erosion-prone lands and protect wetlands.

  • July 20, 2015
    USDA Accepting More Farmland for Wildlife Habitat
    The USDA South Dakota Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that an additional 8,000 acres of agricultural land in South Dakota is eligible for funding for wildlife habitat restoration.

  • July 1, 2015
    CRP Turns 30 in 2015
    Learn more about the Conservation Reserve Program as it celebrates 30 years of service across the country.
  • May 30, 2015
    New Pheasants Forever Chapter in Douglas County
    Pheasant hunters and conservationists in South Dakota have formed the newest chapter of Pheasants Forever in the country. Officially named the Fort Randall Chapter of Pheasants Forever, the volunteer committee has plans to improve wildlife habitat in Douglas County while providing outdoor educational experiences for area youth.

  • May 29, 2015
    800,000 Acres Dedicated to CRP for Wildlife Habitat and Wetlands
    The USDA will accept new offers to participate in CRP under a general signup to be held Dec. 1, 2015, through Feb. 26, 2016. Eligible existing program participants with contracts expiring Sept. 30, 2015, will be granted an option for one-year extensions. Farmers and ranchers interested in removing sensitive land from agricultural production and planting grasses or trees to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and restore wildlife habitat are encouraged to enroll.

  • May 6, 2015
    Hunters, Anglers Fund America's Conservation Efforts
    New statistics recently released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) show hunters and anglers generated $1.1 billion in 2014. That funding will be distributed to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to support America's conservation and recreation projects.

  • March 8, 2015
    Farmers, Hunters Share a Common Passion
    Hunters and farmers have always shared a common connection with the land. Generally speaking, hunters rely on farmers to develop sustainable wildlife habitat, while farmers look to hunters to help control crop depredation and maintain healthy animal populations.