With any piece of land come countless opportunities for improvement. Whether you are looking to improve your land for hunting, farming, or for overall quality of life, there are options available for you. The Natural Resource Conservation Service partnering with the Farm Service Agency provides countless incentive programs that landowners can take advantage of to improve there land.

Some popular programs are Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), which focuses on different practices per property that can improve the quality of habitat, thus leading to healthier wildlife. For example through my internship with the Indiana NRCS division, I have seen first hand how a person can use their property for quail habitat restoration. Not only is this beneficial for quail, but also provides superb habitat for Indiana’s small game species.  Another route is Environmental Quality Incentive Programs (EQIP), which deals more with the farming and wildlife interaction aspect of management. Commodity crops are considered under this plan and options are available for the consumer to increase the overall productivity of their property. Another popular program is Timber Stand Improvement (TSI). TSI is a great way to improve the health of a forest. A state forester will assess the property, consider the landowners goals, and will develop a plan that will get the most out of the forest according to the landowners desires.

For starters, search http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/ to see what programs are available in your state. The reimbursement process makes it very affordable and practical for landowners to pitch in to the overall conservation and wildlife management movement. The programs mentioned above only scratch the surface, so I urge you to search around the web and see what you can do to improve the number one resource you have, your land.

-Mitch Strobl