Soil Health and Habitat Program in Prairie Pothole Region

Purina grant offers financial incentives for farmers to increase sustainability and profitability.

Pheasants Forever has announced a second 30-day application period for farmers and ranchers to enroll in the organization’s Soil Health and Habitat Program, funded by pet care leader Purina.

The program, designed to enhance soil health, protect water quality, and increase wildlife habitat for more resilient farms, invites producers in the Prairie Pothole Region of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota to apply for precision ag and conservation solution incentives. The application period will close on December 30, 2020.

Utilizing precision agriculture technology as the foundation, Pheasants Forever will work with producers and growers to analyze data using Truterra Insights Engine from 30,000 acres of private lands in the Prairie Pothole Region to help enhance soil health, protect water quality, and implement conservation planning for 7,200 acres.

Results from the analysis will help guide enrollment of unprofitable acres into the program for habitat conservation. Landowners will receive a one-time incentive payment for grassland, and the program will improve soil health on their best acres through cover crop mixtures and incentives.

“I applied for this program during its initial application phase because I understand that portions of our farmed landscape consistently underperform and are sometimes unprofitable. Those acres, when analyzed, are often well-suited for perennial vegetation,” Nathan Anderson says. Anderson is a farmer and recent cooperator enrolled in the Soil Health and Habitat Program. “Using cover crops on the adjacent crop acres can increase the habitat area used by pheasants and wildlife, complementing the positive impact of the installed perennial vegetation.”

“Creating diverse habitat and critical nesting cover in the Prairie Pothole Region is essential to producing the healthy ingredients used in Purina’s complete and balanced pet food formulas,” says Jack Scott, Purina vice president of sustainability and responsible sourcing. “Thank you to the producers and growers who have already joined us as we work together with Pheasants Forever to make a positive and lasting impact.”

Soil Health and Habitat Program Guidelines:

Financial Incentives

  • $150-an-acre one-time payment for habitat in South Dakota or North Dakota
  • $250-an-acre one-time payment for habitat in Iowa or Minnesota
  • $150 an acre for seed and establishment cost share (based off actual receipts)
  • $20 an acre for cover crop cost share

Terms

  • 5-year contract
  • Haying/grazing allowed outside of primary nesting season

Participating farmers will also receive a Truterra Insights Engine Stewardship Report Card that includes a sustainability score and profits insights. Farmers will agree to provide agronomic practice information to establish baseline metrics.

Click here to watch the video of Nathan Anderson’s personal connection to the Soil Health and Habitat Program.

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