Iowa has 50,000 acres available under a new Conservation Reserve Program called Iowa Pheasant Recovery SAFE. This new CP38 practice requires top quality winter habitat and food for pheasants.

That top quality winter habitat and food is in demand after last Friday’s blizzard devastated pheasant habitat across central and north central Iowa.

About half of Iowa received 3 to 10 inches of wet heavy snow that collapsed most grassy cover. Falling temperatures then turned the wet snow into a white layer of ice.  The cover that did not collapse was drifted full of snow from the high winds.

“This was a bad storm for upland game birds,” said Todd Bogenschutz, state upland game biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  “It’s very likely we saw some bird mortality with this blizzard, birds likely trapped under the frozen wet snow.”

For much of northern Iowa most waste grains are now frozen below the snow and birds will be very visible searching for food which will increase their predation.  “We need a 50 degree thaw to reduce the ice layer but the forecast calls for fridge temperatures for the next week,” said Bogenschutz.

FSA expects to begin enrolling landowners in Pheasant Recovery SAFE later this spring on a first come, first served until the acres are gone, but an exact start date is not yet known.  Until then, landowners interested in Pheasant Recovery SAFE should visit with their local DNR private lands staff for planning. They will be notified when FSA can actually take their application.

For more information click on the Iowa Pheasant Recovery link on the DNR’s website at

Logo courtesy Iowa Department of Natural Resources

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