Conservation  |  10/05/2015

South Dakota Introduces Habitat Pays Initiative

South Dakota has launched Habitat Pays, a campaign to help the state’s landowners maintain and improve wildlife habitat on their property.
“Habitat conservation is important in South Dakota. These efforts don’t only enhance our wildlife population and preserve our outdoor traditions, they also benefit farmers and ranchers,” Governor Dennis Daugaard said. “I commend the departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks for finding common ground and working together on this common sense solution.”

Habitat Pays is a campaign led by the departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks that connects farmers and ranchers with tools to help them develop and maintain wildlife habitat on their land. The website has information about conservation programs, landowner testimonies, contact information for habitat advisors – including Pheasants Forever Farm Bill wildlife biologists – and information about the newly developed Habitat Conservation Fund and Board.
The announcement was made at the Peterson Farm near Salem where the secretaries of the departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks offered details on the new campaign for landowners.

“Habitat Pays is a new way to bring the ag and outdoor communities together,” SDDA Secretary Lucas Lentsch said. “At times, cost of crop production can be higher than the value of the crops themselves. In cases like that, it can make sense for producers to look at putting those acres into habitat.”

The awareness campaign is a result of the 2013 Pheasant Habitat Summit and the Governor’s pheasant habitat work group. Last year, the work group recommended that state government start a campaign to connect landowners with habitat resources and launch a website specific to habitat management.
“That 13-member work group represented a variety of interests, including sportsmen and women, landowners and leaders in conservation and agriculture,” GFP Secretary Kelly Hepler said. “The group recommended that we create a public awareness and education campaign to inform landowners about the resources available to them for establishing habitat. Together, we hope to perpetuate, conserve, manage, protect and enhance our state’s wildlife resources, while respecting the important role of landowners.”
Learn more by visiting Landowners can join the conversation through social media by posting images, sharing stories and using #HabitatPays.