Agriculture and wildlife workshop planned

 LAKE VILLAGE (AGFC) – Landowners and agricultural producers interested in cost-share programs are invited to attend the Southeast Arkansas Agriculture and Wildlife Workshop in Lake Village. The workshop will deal with wildlife habitat, cover crops, water management and conservation practices that retain agricultural productivity.

Natural resource professionals with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Ducks Unlimited, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will discuss wetland management, quail management, agricultural programs unique to the area, and other conservation programs offering financial incentives.

Michael Budd with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program says the workshop is being held in hopes of creating more wildlife habitat, better management of existing habitat, create new habitat and to improve water quality. "We also want landowners to know what cost-share programs are available to them, how and why to enroll, and what they can expect long-term," Budd said. "This is a great opportunity for landowners to meet the conservation professionals in the area who provide funding, technical assistance, and who can help landowners through each step of the process" he added.

According to David Long, Private Lands Coordinator with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, many times farmers have croplands and other lands that are hard to farm or are low in productivity that they would like to figure out other income sources for these low yielding agricultural lands. "Most are not aware of the many state, federal and private programs that provide significant financial incentives and income opportunities to improve or create wildlife habitat on private property," Long explained. "In addition, program changes occur regularly that normally result in better benefits for landowners and place new practices in the toolbox. Our workshop will cover all the programs available to assist landowners in conservation practices to improve fish and wildlife habitat and show them the money to improve their farm operations and many times increase cash flow."

Salt intrusion in catfish ponds is causing production problems for many farmers, Long noted. "Many are looking at and enrolling in income producing programs such as found in the Wetland Reserve Program (pays up to $1,500 per acre for conservation easements and the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program which pays yearly rental payments (up to 15 years), $100 per acre up-front payments and other incentives. These programs will be covered in detail at the Feb. 1 workshop in Lake Village," he said.

The workshop will be held on Feb. 1 at the Lake Village Fire Station #2, starting at 10 a.m. A free lunch will be provided following the session. For more information, and to RSVP by Jan. 25 to secure a seat and the lunch, please contact Sheila Pieroni at the Chicot County Conservation District at 870-265-5312, ext. 3.