Duck hunters and waterfowl habitat managers received a gift as part of the 2018 Omnibus appropriation package which Senator Hyde-Smith will be working to maintain in the 2019 Ag appropriations package (S.2976) to be taken up next week by the Senate. The provision directs the USDA Farm Service Agency to allow the planting of food plots on 10% of lands enrolled in CP-23 for wintering waterfowl and other wildlife.
CP-23 is a practice offered under the Conservation Reserve Program that allows for the construction and/or enhancement of wetlands on part of those lands enrolled in CRP. To date, only native moist soil plants could be managed within these impoundments. Native moist soil plants provide excellent habitat for waterfowl. However, adding crops such as corn or rice on a portion of these impoundments can provide additional food resources for waterfowl.
The intention of this provision is to allow landowners with the CP-23 practice as a part of an active or new CRP contract to plant part of these wetland areas in food plots for waterfowl to increase food resources available to migratory waterfowl each winter. The provision is voluntary, therefore landowners who do not wish to site food plots on their CR-23 acres are not required to do so.
“Delta Wildlife and its Waterfowl Committee are pleased to see this provision enacted and support Senator Hyde-Smith in her efforts to maintain this provision in the 2019 Ag appropriations bill,” commented John Murry Greenlee, Delta Wildlife President. “The provision will help address food availability concerns for wintering waterfowl in years when food resources are limited.”
For those landowners with active CP-23 contracts who do wish to site food plots on their CP-23 lands, please see your County USDA Service Center for more information. Delta Area NRCS and FSA staff have recently been provided with guidance and training to help implement this provision.