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St. Paul, Minn. – May 24, 2005 – Pheasants Forever (PF) and the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission (NGPC) invite members of the media to attend a tour of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands being held in Stanton County, Nebraska on Thursday, June 2nd. The tour will showcase PF and NGPC mid-contract management efforts on CRP lands and the responses of grassland song bird, pheasant, and insect populations to those efforts.

The tour will be conducted on a 32-square mile study area of Stanton County, where a variety of mid-contract management techniques have been applied over the past three years. The study area is part of a partnership called “Focus on Pheasants,” where a wide variety of partners have joined to demonstrate the results of creating early successional habitat. Research partners include; PF, NGPC, The Monsanto Fund, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency, Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District.

CRP lands account for nearly 40 million acres nationwide. Originally established in 1985, CRP offers annual payments for 10-15 year contracts to participants who establish grass, shrub, and/or tree cover on environmentally sensitive lands. CRP lands improve water quality, protect environmentally sensitive soils from erosion, stabilize farmer’s incomes through annual payments, and provide critical wildlife habitat. Mid-contract management of these CRP lands has been shown to provide dramatic benefits for wildlife populations, specifically ground-nesting birds. CRP is a part of the federal farm bill’s conservation title.

The tour is intended to provide an opportunity to exchange experience, knowledge, and perspectives amongst the attendees. There are many innovative things happening across the country related to CRP mid-contract management and resource professionals will be on hand to share some of those experiences. The tour will be conducted during a PF meeting where every one of its regional biologists from across the country will be in attendance for the event. A similar tour was conducted last year with resource professionals representing seven states and federal agencies in attendance.

The tour will depart from the Maskenthine Recreation Area at approximately 9:30AM on Thursday morning. Attendee space is limited to a maximum of 120 people. There are already 95 people registered, representing 16 states and Washington D.C. To make your registration arrangements, or to learn more about CRP mid-contract management, please contact Pete Berthelsen at (308)754-5339.

PF is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. Such efforts benefit landowners and wildlife alike. PF is the only national wildlife conservation organization that leaves 100 percent of the fundraising dollars, along with the decision on how best to utilize those funds, in the local communities where they are raised. PF has more than 110,000 members in over 600 local chapters across the continent.

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