Conservation  |  04/23/2015

Update: Upland Habitat Buffer Availability

Acres remain available for enrollment across the country for Conservation Practice 33, the Upland Habitat Buffers practice, a continuous Conservation Reserve Program signup opportunity best-known as the trademark bobwhite quail habitat creation program.
New for the program this year, pivot corners are now eligible for enrollment. There are currently 252,088 Upland Habitat Buffer acres enrolled across the country, leaving 144,382 acres available for enrollment. Another 103,530 Conservation Practice 33 acres on reserve, meaning they will be allocated to states once current allotments are used up. Full enrollment nationwide would total 500,000 acres.
The program is most commonly referred to as “bobwhite buffers” as the purpose of this practice is to reverse the long-term decline of quail, pheasant and other upland bird populations by providing needed nesting and brood-rearing habitat adjacent to cropland. These important components of quail habitat have declined due to more intense grazing and cropping practices – resulting in the elimination of weedy field borders, abandoned farmsteads and small, recently disturbed areas loved by upland birds.
Landowners interested in the bobwhite buffers practice can enroll at any time by contacting the Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever farm bill biologist in their area or by visiting their local USDA Service Center

State Upland Buffers Available (Acres)*
Alabama 521
Arkansas 5,384
Colorado 307
Georgia 1,178
Idaho 1,000
Illinois 8,217
Indiana 9,552
Iowa 20,596
Kansas 30,007
Kentucky 5,865
Louisiana 288
Maryland 7558
Michigan 783
Minnesota 605
Mississippi 1,287
Missouri 17,937
Nebraska 5,971
North Carolina 4,259
Ohio 7,079
Oklahoma 536
South Carolina 3,332
South Dakota 4,990
Tennessee 1,747
Texas 5,258
Virginia 1,649
Washington 4,601
Wisconsin 370

*USDA statistics as of February 2015, most recent available 

Photo credit: Jo Garbutt under a Flickr CC license