Des Moines, Iowa – Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest wrapped up today after drawing 20,230 attendees to the Iowa Events Center. The highlight of the event came on Saturday afternoon when U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup and the reallocation of 300,000 acres into three popular wildlife practices within CRP.
“Our mission at Pheasants Forever is wildlife habitat, and Pheasant Fest delivered habitat in spades. This has been a very successful event for us,” reported Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Iowa’s pheasant harvest set an all time low in 2008 due to some terrible weather and massive habitat losses. Pheasant Fest created a platform for our organization to draw the state’s bird hunters, natural resource professionals, and landowners together around this issue.”
Pheasant Fest also generated 1,021 new members for the organization. In fact, 40 of those members became life members with a $1,000 donation; a new Pheasant Fest record.
Vincent also announced the organization’s plans to bring National Pheasant Fest to Omaha’s Qwest Center next January 28-30, 2011. “We are thrilled to have had such a successful event this year in Des Moines, and I invite everyone to Omaha next January as we bring National Pheasant Fest to Nebraska for the first time in six years,” added Vincent.
In addition to announcing the first general CRP signup in four years, Secretary Vilsack also reallocated 150,000 acres into a state specific CRP practice called State Acres For wildlife Enhancement (SAFE), 100,000 acres into a practice focused on creating habitat for bobwhite quail nationwide, and an additional 50,000 acres for a wetlands practice targeted at creating duck nesting habitat in the upper Midwest. Secretary Vilsack also signed a first-ever partnership agreement between the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, and Pheasants Forever, enabling these groups to work together to implement Farm Bill conservation programs.
National Pheasant Fest also delivered multiple habitat benefits specific to Iowa. The event’s Landowner Habitat Help Room serviced 470 landowners; providing conservation guidance on an estimated 37,000 acres of land predominately located in Iowa. The group’s Build a Wildlife Area campaign also generated more than $100,000 to be used for the acquisition of land to be opened for public wildlife areas in the state. There were also a wide range of seminars and panel discussions focused on habitat initiatives for turning around the state’s plummeting pheasant populations.
Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest is an annual event combining a consumer show, habitat seminar series, and family event complete with puppies, tractors, shotguns, and art. In fact, Pheasant Fest is the country’s largest event for upland hunters, sport dog owners, and wildlife habitat conservationists. For more information, log onto www.PheasantFest.org.