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Pheasant Fest 2005 supported by key federal conservation agencies


ST. PAUL, Minn. - The U. S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have agreed to support National Pheasant Fest 2005 as key habitat sponsors. The FSA and NRCS are the two largest USDA agencies responsible for implementing private lands conservation programs in cooperation with our nation's farmers and ranchers. Pheasants Forever's National Pheasant Fest is set for Jan. 14-16 at the Qwest Center in downtown Omaha. The Fest promises to be the country's largest event for upland hunters, sport dog owners, and wildlife habitat conservationists.

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"The success of the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has been widely documented," said Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever. "We're very pleased to have the support of the Farm Service Agency - the agency responsible for implementing CRP - as a Pheasant Fest sponsor. Likewise, the Natural Resources Conservation Service is charged with implementing other wildlife-friendly programs like the Wetlands Reserve, Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, and other pheasant-friendly conservation programs."

FSA Administrator Jim Little is scheduled to attend and will make a presentation on The Conservation Reserve Program: Accomplishments and a look at the future. In addition, other Washington, D.C.-based FSA staff including Mike Linsenbigler, deputy director; Beverly Preston, program manager for CRP; and Sally Benjamin, national wildlife biologist, will make presentations on CRP's Future Potential for Wildlife, Soil, & Water.

NRCS's Nebraska Conservationist, Steve Chick, will discuss Driving Conservation with Partnerships. Other NRCS presentations include Mid-Contract Management of CRP in Nebraska and Iowa, by Ritch Nelson and Mark Lindflott, biologists for Nebraska and Iowa NRCS. Both FSA and NRCS are sponsoring the featured Landowner Habitat Help Desk, a daily feature where landowners can receive detailed suggestions about how to manage their lands for wildlife.

Pheasant Fest 2005 will be PF's second such event. The first Pheasant Fest was held in Minneapolis in 2003. That first Fest attracted thousands of members, conservation leaders, and pheasant hunters from around the country. This year's Omaha event will be double the size of the first Fest with twice the exhibitor booths, bigger seminars and more special events. There's even a chance to go hunting if you are so inclined; Nebraska's pheasant hunting season is open until Jan. 31. Nebraska's 59 PF chapters and Iowa's 102 PF chapters will also conduct their annual state meetings at this year's Pheasant Fest. For more information about PF and Pheasant Fest 2005, go to www.pheasantsforever.org.

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