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Habitat Pays: Connecting Landowners to Resources



Habitat Pays: Connecting Landowners to Resources


By Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch and Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler



The rural areas of South Dakota have a lot to offer both residents and visitors from other states and around the world. We enjoy clean air, plentiful water sources and a quality of living envied by many. These things don’t happen by accident.


This past year, your departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks have been collaborating on the Habitat Pays initiative. Habitat Pays showcases tools that are currently available to landowners to assist them in determining the best use of their acres, whether that be acres in production agriculture, pasture or habitat. A balanced combination of all of these uses can increase healthy soils, water quality and habitat for a variety of species in our state.


The mission of both departments includes the desire to conserve and protect our state’s valuable resources. Landowners want to maximize their land’s financial potential, but they also share the desire to conserve and protect the land that provides their livelihood.


As a part of the Habitat Pays initiative, a website, habitat.sd.gov, was developed.  This website serves as a one-stop-shop for finding state, federal and non-governmental programs that provide cost-share or technical assistance to producers. The website also includes contact information for a variety of habitat advisors who meet with landowners, learn the goals they have for their operation and advise producers about options available to them to meet those goals.


Many producers are already working with habitat advisors, and even more are utilizing these programs to meet their vision for their operation. We are proud to showcase a handful of these producers on habitat.sd.gov. These farm and ranch families share their stories and offer insight into how these programs and advisors have been beneficial for their operations.


We know that the New Year is an important time for many producers to make decisions about what their operation will look like for the next year. As you look ahead to 2016, we encourage you to utilize these exciting resources and consider how habitat programs may fit into your plan.