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Migratory bird habitat initiative response strong

July 21, 2010

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said landowners who want to participate in a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) initiative to increase migratory bird habitat alternatives must apply by August 1 to be considered.
The NRCS Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (MBHI), introduced on June 28, will provide payment incentives to landowners in the Mississippi Flyway for flooding existing farmed wetlands, prior-converted croplands or other lands that can provide immediate habitat to help replace habitat damaged by the BP oil spill.
Interested producers should contact their local USDA Service Center for additional information. More information is available at
 “It’s an opportunity for Louisiana farmers, foresters and rancher to help create habitat for migratory birds,” Strain said. “So far, our landowners have responded in record numbers.”
Louisiana’s NRCS State Conservationist Kevin Norton said 1,472 applications to enroll more than 302,000 acres have already been received since the program was introduced on June 28.
"There is more interest in participating in the initiative than available funding," said Norton. "Although the next priority ranking of applications will begin July 23, the application period will remain open until August 1st to ensure everyone interested in participating has a chance to participate and make certain all available land has been identified so the NRCS can make the right ranking decisions."
The Louisiana components of the initiative encompass Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, Evangeline, Franklin, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Richland, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Tensas, Vermilion, and West Carroll parishes.
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas are also included in the program.