Sorghum for BIRDS initiative showcases a deep connection between upland habitat and grain production
PF/QF, USCP – Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have partnered with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) to offer conservation cost-share opportunities for sorghum producers in western Kansas. The new sustainability initiative – Sorghum for BIRDS (Building Innovative, Resilient, and Diverse agricultural Systems) – targets low performing acres by offering growers a one-time incentive payment to apply targeted conservation practices in tandem with sorghum production. The Sorghum for BIRDS application period is now open to Kansas producers in a 15-county region.
Committed to showcasing the nexus between upland bird habitats and sorghum production, The Habitat Organization and USCP launched the Sorghum for BIRDS initiative to help achieve mutual goals for landscape-level sustainability and profitability in the heart of America’s sorghum belt. Paired with a wide variety of targeted conservation practices, the program is designed to provide increased technical support for sorghum growers to enhance upland bird habitat while improving farm-level profitability and sustainability outcomes.
“Sorghum has such an important role to play in sustainable farming systems, especially here in the High Plains,” says Kira Everhart-Valentin, USCP Sustainability Director. “Its resource-conserving nature makes it a key contributor to healthy soils and the protection of precious water sources, while its wildlife-friendly characteristics help to support diverse ecosystems. Sorghum is good for birds and good for farms, and we’re very excited about this opportunity for growers to bring more value to their operations.”
“Sustainability begins with profitability, which is why our new initiative is groundbreaking for western Kansas. Sorghum for BIRDS is an incredibly exciting opportunity to reach new growers and help connect them to cost-share programs they may not otherwise be aware of,” stated Brittany Smith, Precision Ag & Conservation Specialist for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “My role is to help producers identify conservation options that address profitability and sustainability throughout the entire farm. Working one-on-one with growers, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever will help implement innovative solutions from start to finish.”
Sorghum for BIRDS Initiative Guidelines
- Whole-field practices: $5/acre (soil health crop rotations including sorghum, soil health assessment, reduced tillage, etc.)
- Cover crops: $15/acre
- Edge-of-field practices: $25/acre (perennial cover such as field borders, filter strips, playa buffers, pivot corners, etc.)
- Up to $1000 for the adoption of advanced irrigation water management technology.
- Sorghum for BIRDS payments will be offered IN ADDITION to any conservation program payments received.
- Sorghum for BIRDS is open to all irrigated and dryland acres on which sorghum is actively included in the crop rotation within the following Kansas counties: Rooks, Osborne, Trego, Ellis, Russell, Scott, Lane, Ness, Rush, Barton, Finney, Hodgeman, Pawnee, Gray, and Ford. Applications from outside project area will be approved on a case-by-case basis.
- Sorghum must be included in the rotation on the acres enrolled.
- Field-level profitability analysis (precision data is not required to complete this analysis) to identify conservation opportunities.
- Implementation of a new conservation practice on the field enrolled.
- Growers must allow ongoing monitoring data collection from the enrolled field(s) for 3 years. Data will only be collected from enrolled fields and will not be shared publicly.
For more information about about applying for Sorghum for BIRDS or enrollment opportunities, please contact Brittany Smith, Kansas Precision Ag & Conservation Specialist, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 316-302-4467.
To learn more about the partnership between Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, watch our partnership video or contact Kira Everhart-Valentin, Sustainability Director for USCP, at [email protected] or (620) 874-8195.
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 138,000 members and 760 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent over $950 million on 560,000 habitat projects benefiting 20 million acres nationwide. In fact, more than 210,000 of those acres are now permanently protected as public lands.
The United Sorghum Checkoff Program is a producer-funded organization that is dedicated to improving the sorghum industry through research, promotion and education. For more information about the USCP and other research projects please visit sorghumcheckoff.com.