Today was a good day for pheasants and quail in Washington, D.C., which will translate into some good days for pheasant and quail hunters afield in the future.

This afternoon during the White House’s Conference on Conservation, President Barack Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce the reallocation of one million CRP acres to the most popular continuous practices within the program.  Those reallocations include some of the best available tools for creating pheasant and quail habitat.  The President will also announce a significant increase for signing incentive payments from $100 per acre to $150 per acre to encourage landowner participation in CRP.

No matter how staggeringly impressive the wildlife, water quality, flood mitigation and soil benefits of CRP are to society, the program needs to make sense to a farmer’s bottom line in order for CRP to succeed.  Today, President Obama sent a clear signal that CRP is evolving into a more focused, strategic and financially competitive conservation option for farmers and ranchers.  There is no doubt commodities are out-competing yesterday’s CRP, but it’s also clear these focused CRP practices are an asset to any farmer and rancher’s balance sheet as evidenced by the photos above.

I hope today’s announcement brings a sense of gratification to every Pheasants Forever member who has contacted a legislative official in support of CRP these last few months.  Our meetings and your conservation testimonials have led us to these new acres.  A million acres doesn’t equate to the 6.5 million acres set to expire later this year, but it is a victory in the conservation battle.  A victory we needed.

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