USDA Secretary Vilsack returning to Iowa to attend National Pheasant Fest

Des Moines, Iowa — Pheasants Forever has confirmed that U.S.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will attend
National Pheasant Fest 2010. Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa,
is slated to give the keynote address at the Pheasant Fest luncheon
on Saturday, Feb. 27 at noon. Immediately following the luncheon,
Vilsack will sign a first-ever Memorandum of Understanding between
the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service
Agency, and Pheasants Forever.

 “We are very pleased to have the Secretary joining us at
National Pheasant Fest and see this MOU with the NRCS and FSA as an
excellent step toward accelerating the delivery of conservation
policy to on-the-ground habitat acres,” reported Dave Nomsen,
Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s VP of government
affairs.

 The MOU establishes the framework for the three groups to work
together in partnership toward common goals; specifically the
implementation of Farm Bill conservation programs. The MOU allows
for the free flow of information between the groups and provides a
foundation for Pheasants Forever to deliver conservation technical
assistance to farmers, ranchers, and landowners. In this capacity,
Pheasants Forever, along with other state wildlife partners,
currently employ 50 Farm Bill and Partner Biologists in eight
states. The Farm Bill Biologist program is designed to assist
landowners in implementing conservation practices on their
property. To date, Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologists have
contacted and consulted 30,000 landowners, resulting in the
improvement of 1.3 million acres of land for wildlife.

 The Future of CRP

“We are also optimistic that Secretary Vilsack will be bringing
us some much needed good news about the Conservation Reserve
Program’s future,” added Nomsen. “Every pheasant hunter, looks
across the snow-covered landscape today and clearly sees the need
for returning significant acres back to the program.”

CRP is in its 25th year. There are currently 31.1 million acres
enrolled in the program nationwide, which has seen 6.5 million
acres expire in the last three years. Of significant concern is
that another 15.4 million acres more are set to expire by the
autumn of 2012 without any new sign-ups currently upcoming.

Secretary Vilsack will become the third Secretary of Agriculture
to attend National Pheasant Fest. Mike Johanns attended the Des
Moines event in 2007 and Chuck Connor attended the Saint Paul event
in 2008.

National Pheasant Fest 2010

Pheasant Fest is the country’s largest event for upland hunters,
sport dog owners and wildlife habitat conservationists, combining a
national outdoor tradeshow, wildlife habitat seminar series, and
family event complete with puppies, tractors, shotguns, and art.
Ticket prices are: Adults – $10 Daily * Ages 6-16 – $5 Daily * Ages
5 and Under – FREE; Weekend Special – $30 (Includes annual
Pheasants Forever membership & hat, over $80 value). To
purchase tickets for the Saturday luncheon at Pheasant Fest where
Secretary Vilsack will be the keynote speaker, please call Stacy at
Pheasants Forever toll free at (877) 773-2070. Tickets are $30
each. For more information visit www.PheasantFest.org

Categories: Rob Drieslein

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