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Land in LaMoure County boosts program acres

LAMOURE, N.D. — A piece of land enrolled in LaMoure County in southeast North Dakota has put a national conservation program that restores high-priority wildlife habitat over the 1 million-acre mark.

The initiative, known as State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement, is a part of the 30-year-old USDA Conservation Reserve Program, a federally-funded voluntary program that contracts with agricultural producers so that environmentally-sensitive land is not farmed or ranched. With SAFE, wildlife that may be endangered, suffering population declines, or that provide value to the local community, is identified by nonfederal partners. Agricultural producers can submit offers to enroll acres in CRP contracts for 10 to 15 years. In exchange, these producers receive annual CRP rental payments, incentives and cost-share aid to establish, improve or create higher-quality wildlife habitat.

Four of the 98 SAFE projects nationwide can be found in North Dakota, covering more than 122,000 acres. The one millionth national SAFE acre was enrolled as part of the Coteau-Drift project, which creates waterfowl, shorebird and terrestrial bird habitat in the Missouri Plateau and Drift Prairie region, and now totals 69,000 acres, according to Farm Services Agency State Executive Director for North Dakota Aaron Krauter.

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