|  12/21/2023

The Push for Sustainable Conservation Funding in Kansas


Advocacy work begins in early 2024 with Conservation Day at the Capitol

Throughout the history of Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF), the organization’s work on state and federal policy has helped shape conservation and wildlife programs that direct billions of dollars and impact millions of acres. These funding mechanisms help manage wildlife populations, provide hunting access, and ultimately shape our outdoor experiences on public and private lands.

It’s hard work to help enact (or oppose) any type of legislation, reauthorize current programs, and appropriate funds to allow authorized programs to function as intended. That’s what we do for upland wildlife: We engage and advocate for effective policies and programs impacting wildlife and access at the local level, often with a coalition of other conservation groups and partners.   

And as the calendar flips to 2024, we’re proud to be kicking off the new year with a strong advocacy push as a participating member of Kansans for Conservation (KFC), working diligently on a new legislative initiative to establish sustainable funding for conservation in The Sunflower State!

Comprised of conservation organizations, commodity groups, and other natural resource entities, KFC advocates for the protection of the state’s water, land, outdoor recreation, and environmental education resources for all Kansans.

The Habitat Organization recognizes the tremendous long-term benefits of stateside sustainable funding for Kansas’ rich history of upland hunting and quality grassland habitat benefitting farmers and ranchers, water quality, wildlife, hunters, and the state’s associated outdoor recreation and agricultural economies.

In partnership with KFC, PF & QF is advising lawmakers on a draft bill for the 2024 Kansas Legislative Session supporting the creation of a state conservation fund which pools existing financial resources from lottery prize revenue, sports gambling revenue, and sporting goods tax revenue to the following divisions: (1) Kansas Department of Ag, division of conservation (50%); (2) KDWP wildlife division (25%); and (3) KDWP parks division (25%). In its current form, the draft bill does not create any new financial obligation for Kansas taxpayers and would generate estimated funding of ~$63.4 million. These funds would provide matching resources for agricultural, conservation, and wildlife investments on private and public lands throughout the state.

The Case for Conservation Funding

  • Agriculture is the main function on nearly 90 percent of the land in Kansas, making ag production the state's largest economic sector and 6th in the nation. Likewise, agriculture is also critical to Kansas wildlife, habitat, and outdoor access (WIHA), which exists almost entirely on private lands and supports the state’s $1.8 billion outdoor recreation economy, including $481 million in state and local taxes and providing 71,000 jobs. Voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs for farmers and ranchers are the backbone of wildlife habitat and deserve sustained financial commitment (88% of Kansans agree this is a convincing reason to increase conservation funding in Kansas). Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis 
  • Kansas’ family farms are a part of our state’s unique character and quality of life – but our most productive soil is being lost at an alarming rate – an average of 190 million tons are lost or degraded every year. Investing in protecting Kansas’ valuable soils and agricultural heritage will benefit all of us (79% of Kansans agree this is a convincing reason to increase conservation funding in Kansas). Source: FM3 Research, New Bridge Strategy Survey 
  • Thirty-five other states have state-based conservation funds, and it's time for Kansas to join their ranks by investing in quality-of-life infrastructure that builds communities, bolsters the economy, and attracts and maintains a top-notch workforce. Source: Trust for Public Land

How Can You Help?

Kansans for Conservation will be hosting a Day at the Capitol on Monday, January 22, 2024. This event will serve as an opportunity for volunteers and member organizations to network and advocate directly to legislators for conservation funding. MARK YOUR CALENDAR AND JOIN US!

A webinar will be held in January for participants to learn about the coalition and its in-depth initiatives. A tentative agenda for KFC Coalition Day at the Capitol is below, please RSVP HERE if you plan to attend.

9:00a.m.-10:30a.m. Welcome, Legislative Update, Advocacy Practice 

10:30a.m.-12:00p.m. First Round Legislator Visits 

12:00p.m.-1:00p.m. Lunch on 1st Floor 

1:00p.m.-2:00p.m. Second Round Legislator Visits 

2:00p.m.-2:30p.m. Debrief and Departure

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever will provide further guidance to members on effective ways to contact your legislators and encourage them to help Kansas' agricultural economy grow, preserve the quality of life for future generations and uphold public access to recreation by establishing dedicated conservation funding for 2024. 

PF & QF members and volunteers can be the backbone of this endeavor. An estimated $63 million in annual conservation funding is what’s at stake – let’s make it happen, together.

For more information about the Kansans for Conservation Coalition, please contact Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever's vice president of development, Jordan Martincich, at 816-560-1070 or JMartincich@pheasantsforever.org.  

Advocating for Conservation

It takes good habitat to produce abundant wildlife and opportunities to hunt—but it also takes robust public funding and sound conservation policy to shape that habitat. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s dedicated Government Affairs team works in Washington D.C. and state capitols across America to create and secure funding for programs that benefit the uplands, from the rugged backcountry to the neighboring farm’s “back 40.” To learn more about our policy priorities and ways you can help advocate for conservation, visit this page.