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Landowners can apply for wildlife plan

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 Do you own a farm or tract of land with open fields? Are you sick of spending money on gas to bush hog or mow?  Would you like to see your wildlife numbers increase?    If so, have you considered letting a biologist help you improve wildlife habitat? If you enjoy outdoor recreation such as hunting, bird watching, or wildlife viewing, improving wildlife habitat can enhance your wildlife experience!  Biologists are eager to prepare a conservation plan for your farm!

Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kentucky is currently accepting applications for Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Wildlife Initiative.   EQIP Wildlife is a voluntary program available to landowners to improve wildlife habitat on private property.

Landowners accepted into EQIP Wildlife can apply for assistance in enhancing wildlife habitat.  Practices such as native grass plantings, tree/shrub plantings, edge feathering and forestry patch clearcuts are just a few of the available options.   

Landowners enrolled in EQIP can receive cost share to plant native warm season grasses and wildflowers to improve wildlife habitat.  Native grasses provide optimal cover for deer, turkey, quail, and rabbits.  They also produce seed and attract numerous insects, a nutritious source of food for many species.   Native warm season grasses do not need lime or fertilizer as they are adapted to KY soils.  They are also drought resistant.  

Another popular practice offered under EQIP wildlife is herbaceous weed control.  This is an economical way to maximize wildlife habitat. This practice entails eradicating fescue with herbicide applications.  This allows beneficial weeds such as ragweed and foxtail to grow.  Although many people detest weeds, if allowed to grow tall, they offer the best food and cover for wildlife!  

Interested landowners may apply for programs at their local USDA NRCS office or call Terri Estes, wildlife biologist @ 502-545-2354. The first application cutoff date is January 17, 2014.  Participants must meet certain USDA NRCS eligibility requirements.