Kansas Recognized For Use Of Native Grasses in CRP
NBTC Group Achievement Award Presented to Kansas NRCS and FSA
The National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) recently awarded their “Group Achievement Award” to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) at the Kansas Natural Resources Conference, January 30-31, Wichita. The award reflects achievements of groups of individuals or organizations that have had a measurable positive impact on wild bobwhite quail populations.
Nominated by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), the NBTC highlighted USDA’s NRCS and FSA and their unique implementation in Kansas of the national Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which became part of the Farm Bill in 1985, and the positive impact on bobwhites and other wildlife.
When CRP began in 1985, policymakers in Kansas were faced with the critical decision on what kind of cover should be established on CRP lands with such a wide diversity of soil types throughout the state.
It was determined the most beneficial cover for CRP lands in Kansas would be mixes of warm season native grasses, the same predominate grasses found in native grasslands. However, this decision was not met with unanimous support, as native grasses were expensive and practical experience in establishing these grasses was lacking. NRCS technical specialists agreed that having a mix of established native grass would provide the producer greater options for future use of that cover, once the contract expired, than a single species mix. It was agreed by Kansas NRCS and FSA technical staffs to use native grasses to reap benefits for wildlife and other natural resources in Kansas.
In the late 1990’s, the KDWPT documented the presence of the lesser prairie-chicken in portions of their historic range in southwest Kansas, something not seen in over 60 years. This can be attributed to the nesting cover that was provided by the native grasses in CRP.
Rod Winkler (left), FSA and Dean Krehbiel (right), NRCS being presented the NBTC Group Achievement Award from Tom Dailey (center) Assistant Director of NBTC.