Hoeven Announces Additional SAFE Acres to Help ND Producers Optimize CRP Acreage

Increased Acreage Benefits Farmers, Ranchers and Sportsmen

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allocate an additional 32,800 acres for the State Acres for Wildlife Program (SAFE) in North Dakota. As a member of the farm bill conference committee, the senator worked to include language in the final bill that encouraged the Secretary of Agriculture to allocate a greater number of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to programs like SAFE, which allow producers to create habitat that is beneficial for wildlife.

“We worked to increase North Dakota’s acreage for the SAFE program because it helps not only our farmers and ranchers, but also sportsmen in our state,” said Hoeven. “The SAFE program allows our producers to optimize their CRP acreage to encourage wildlife populations, which in turn increases hunting opportunities for our sportsmen.”

SAFE acres provide more flexibility to make CRP work for producers and hunters. Unlike the general CRP sign up process, land offered under SAFE and other continuous CRP programs may be enrolled at any time, and they encourage collaboration between state and federal agencies and farmers and ranchers to develop and maintain high quality wildlife habitat. Land enrolled in SAFE can include wind breaks, shelter belts and filter strips.

SAFE acre allotments increased by the following:

North Dakota Coteau-Drift - current acreage of 50,950 will increase by 18,200 acres for a total of 69,150 acres to help maintain and increase habitat for waterfowl, water birds, shorebirds and terrestrial birds.

North Dakota Pheasant - current acreage of 29,800 will increase by 13,700 acres for a total of 43,500 acres for economically significant species such as ring-necked pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge, waterfowl, big game and other non-game species.

North Dakota Tallgrass Prairie - current acreage 7,090 will increase by 900 acres for a total of 7,990 acres to restore native tall-grass prairie habitat for the prairie-chicken and sharp-tailed grouse populations.

States like North Dakota have lost CRP acreage, which has a reduced habitat for a number of sports species like deer and pheasants. Combined with North Dakota’s PLOTS and Coverlocks programs, which make private lands available to hunters, the SAFE program can create more habitats to increase wildlife populations and hunting opportunities.