In early December, the Directors from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA) met to sign an important Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies that is sure to improve the already strong relationship between the agencies.
This MOU allows biologists with the Georgia DNR to more efficiently assist FSA staff with such initiatives as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). This 30-year old program provides rental payments to participating farmers in exchange for removing land of conservation concern from agricultural production.
Highlights of the MOU for Georgia include CP-36 (CRP Longleaf Pine Initiative) and CP-33 (Habitat buffers for Upland Birds) - both important efforts for creating critical habitat for wildlife, such as Bobwhite Quail.
• The Longleaf Pine Initiative (CP-36) is an effort to re-establish longleaf pine in order to restore the ecological function of one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, while also producing high quality timber. Many species of conservation concern – such as the gopher tortoise and the eastern indigo snake – rely on this particular habitat. Additional information at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/2015/CRPProgramsandInitiatives/Longleaf_Pine_Initiative.pdf
• The Habitat Buffer Initiative (CP-33) converts small portions of farmland into habitat for bobwhite quail and other upland birds. Practices include creating crop buffers and habitat in pivot corners which create vital winter, nesting and brood habitat. Additional information at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/2015/CRPProgramsandInitiatives/Upland_Bird_Habitat_Initiative.pdf
For more information on landowner programs in Georgia, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/landowners.