The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission recently was awarded a $1.5 million, three-year grant by the Nebraska Environmental Trust to enroll tall wheat and milo stubble in a new wildlife incentive program.
In the Crop Stubble Management, Wildlife and Water Conservation Program, per-acre payments of $10 per acre will be offered to farmers in eight Nebraska natural resources districts. They are the Upper-Niobrara-White, North Platte, South Platte, Twin Platte, Upper Republican, Middle Republican, Tri-Basin and Lower Republican NRDs, which are in southern and western Nebraska.
Producers within the project area may receive $10 per acre to leave wheat and/or milo stubble 14 inches or taller undisturbed until April 1 of the following year, says Alicia Hardin of the Game and Parks Commission.
Eligible producers may enroll up to 320 acres per year per crop type for two years. Post-harvest chemical applications are allowed, Hardin says, but other means of disturbance such as disking, grazing or haying are not allowed before the April 1 deadline.
Public hunting access is not required to enroll. An additional incentive of $3 per acre is available to producers willing to allow walk-in hunting access on their stubble fields.
Hardin says the program is focusing on creating pheasant habitat in these areas. "Tall, undisturbed stubble has been shown to provide multiple benefits to pheasants, quail and other wildlife from the end of summer through winter," Hardin says. "Tall stubble provides additional agricultural and economic benefits by collecting and conserving soil moisture through catching snow, shading the ground and reducing erosion."
Interested producers should register by June 1 for the program.
For more information on the Crop Stubble Management, Wildlife and Water Conservation Program, go to www.FocusOnPheasant.org.