Pheasants Forever and partners team up to benefit hunters, farmers and rural economies
Pheasants Forever and a coalition of partners recently announced a new project in southwestern Iowa to stimulate outdoor tourism, rural economies and agroicultural production. The initiative –
Southwest Iowa Communities for Pheasants and Farming – focuses on developing wildlife habitat and public access on private lands to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities while increasing agricultural profitability in the region.
Partners gathered on August 28th as part of a ceremonial post-pounding event for Iowa’s newest 960 acres enrolled in the Iowa Habitat and Access Program (IHAP).
For its inaugural year, Southwest Iowa Communities for Pheasants and Farming has set of goal of working with 20 regional producers to offer free precision agriculture business planning. This service helps producers identify unprofitable acres that would be eligible for soil, water and wildlife conservation options through Federal Farm Bill, state and local programs.
The coalition has also established a first-year goal of securing 1,500 acres of new public access and is now two-thirds of the way to reaching the goal. By converting marginal crop acres to wildlife habitat and enrolling those lands in Iowa’s public access program, business leaders and organizations are promoting Southwest Iowa as a destination for outdoorsmen and women, while improving profit margins for the region’s agricultural producers.
Above: A hunter and his dog enjoy an IHAP expereince last winter.
In exchange for enrolling at least 80 acres in IHAP for five years, farmers receive a free one-year subscription to Profit Zone Manager
software, a precision agriculture analysis system from EFC Systems; unlimited technical and consulting assistance from a Pheasants Forever precision agriculture and conservation specialist; and habitat improvements and maintenance services
The Southwest Iowa Communities for Pheasants and Farming Initiative seeks to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities for Iowans and non-residents by investing in outdoor infrastructure. Why? In the Hawkeye State alone, 65 percent of residents participate in outdoor reaction, helping to attract employers and an active workforce that supports 83,000 jobs and an annual $8.7 billion in consumer spending.
Find updated maps for all enrolled Iowa Habitat & Access Program properties – including those enrolled through the Southwest Iowa Communities for Pheasants and Farming Initiative – at www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Places-to-Hunt-Shoot/Habitat-Access-Program
The Southwest Iowa Initiative is supported by the Iowa West Foundation, Iowa DNR, Fremont County Tourism Commission, Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau, Western Iowa Tourism, Golden Hills RC&D, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, EFC Systems and Pheasants Forever.