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CRP Essential to South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. - When folks think of South Dakota, they think of pheasants.
Right now, pheasant numbers are at a 35-year high, thanks in large part to
the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

"CRP provides the most wildlife benefits of any conservation program by
providing large blocks of undisturbed cover for pheasants and other ground
nesting birds" said South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds.

In 2004, pheasant hunters harvested an estimated 1.6 million pheasants in
South Dakota, resulting in a direct economic impact estimated over $90

"Hunting, fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation are vital elements
of the 2010 Initiative," Rounds said. "Outdoor recreation is a high priority
for South Dakota. Maintaining and increasing CRP acres will be essential for
the future of pheasant hunting in our state."

"CRP has been so successful in providing wildlife habitat in South Dakota
that the staff at the Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has used CRP
as a basis for many of their private lands programs," said Department
Secretary John Cooper.

The Walk-In Area program pays landowners a premium rate for hunter access to
high quality CRP lands. Game, Fish and Parks offers cost-share enhancements,
such a wetland restoration, woody winter cover plantings and foodplots to
enhance CRP's attractiveness to wildlife.

CRP also provides farmers and ranchers an essential conservation tool for
soil and water quality, as well as the opportunity to promote other wildlife
conservation. "Undisturbed CRP cover benefits many nongame grassland birds
and because of our CRP success, the states of North and South Dakota produce
more ducks than anywhere else in North America," Cooper said.

With just two years left in the current Farm Bill, the future of CRP isn't
certain. "We must work hard to preserve CRP in the next Farm Bill, but I am
optimistic that CRP is important enough to endure into the future," Gov.
Rounds concluded.

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