Pheasants Forever and a coalition of partners recently announced a new project in southwest Iowa to stimulate outdoor tourism, rural economies, and Ag production. The initiative - Southwest Iowa Communities for Pheasants and Farming – focuses on development of wildlife habitat and public access on private lands to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities while increasing agricultural profitability in the region.
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. Southwest Iowa is well-positioned to be the recipient of a thriving outdoor economy with its many public access features along the Missouri River, and the hopes of adding more acres through the Iowa Habitat and Access Program.
Taking outdoor recreation and public access opportunities one step further, the Initiative seeks to engage 20 Southwest Iowa farmers to offer free precision agriculture planning, helping to identify 1,500 unprofitable acres that would be eligible for soil, water and wildlife conservation options through Iowa’s Habitat & Access Program. By converting marginal crop acres and enrolling those in Iowa’s public access program, business leaders and organizations can promote Southwest Iowa as a destination for resident and non-resident hunters/fisherman, while improving profit margins for the region’s Ag producers.
"Pheasants Forever's 'precision agricultural technology' grant stands out to us as a program that incorporates the admirable principles of conservation and land management to drive economic development - one of our focus areas" stated Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. "It is also a model for using data to track meaningful metrics for farmers and funders. It's an excellent example of leveraging public-private funds."
The 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 and Pheasants Forever. Landowners within an eight county region including Pottawattamie (primary), Harrison, Shelby, Cass, Montgomery, Mills, Page and Fremont are encouraged to apply for the available Profit Zone Manager free subscriptions and contribute to local tourism efforts through public access.
The Southwest Iowa Communities for Pheasants and Farming Initiative will be hosting an invitation-only luncheon on March 13th
in Council Bluffs from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. to gain additional partners for this new endeavor. Outdoor retailers, ag suppliers, and community businesses will be encouraged to attend. For more information about the Initiative or the upcoming luncheon, contact Jamie Cook, Iowa State Coordinator for Pheasants Forever, at 859-779-0222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. For farmers interested in partnering with PF on precision Ag, contact Jeremy Biggs, at 402-943-8526 or email@example.com
About Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $784 million on 530,000 habitat projects benefiting 17 million acres nationwide.