New grazing concept benefits the bird and herd

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Quail

COLUMBUS — If you think livestock and quail don’t mix, a new concept in managed grazing may just change your mind.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for a program that focuses on establishing productive warm season forages to improve livestock production and provide large areas of prime habitat for ground-nesting birds and other wildlife.

Ohio’s Northern Bobwhite in Grasslands project, in southern Ohio, is part of a national Working Lands for Wildlife partnership.

The project is designed to help bring back the quail that were once an integral part of Ohio’s landscape.

Wildlife benefits

Researchers have documented the wildlife benefits of managed grazing on native summer forages, concluding that this approach enhances the habitat for the ground-nesting birds while improving livestock weight gains.

“Ohio’s new project is a ‘win-win’ for producers by enabling them to continue grazing on land with installed conservation measures,” said Terry Cosby, NRCS state conservationist in Ohio.

NRCS uses the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to offer technical and financial assistance to eligible livestock producers to implement conservation practices to address habitat loss without taking their land out of production.

NRCS will conduct targeted restoration activities with a focus on 30 southern Ohio counties.

All NRCS financial assistance programs are offered in a continuous sign-up; however, to be considered for Northern Bobwhite in Grasslands funding, applications must be received by Jan. 19, 2018.

Check with your county NRCS office to find out if the program is offered in your county.

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