The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is reminding landowners that they have until June 1 to enroll in a program that pays for doing little more than keeping their wheat and milo stubble tall during the coming harvest.
The Nebraska Environmental Trust has awarded $1.5 million to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to enroll tall wheat and milo stubble into the Crop Stubble Management, Wildlife and Water Conservation Program for three years.
The program is being offered in the Upper Niobrara-White, North Platte, South Platte, Twin Platte, Upper Republican, Middle Republican, Tri-Basin and Lower Republican natural resource districts in southern and western Nebraska.
Producers within the project area may receive $10 per acre to leave wheat and/or milo stubble 14 inches or taller undisturbed until April 1 of the following year. Eligible producers may enroll up to 320 acres per year per crop type for two years. Post-harvest chemical applications are allowed but other means of disturbance – such as disking, grazing or haying – are not allowed before the April 1 deadline. Public hunting access is not required to enroll. An additional incentive of $3 per acre is available to producers willing to allow walk-in hunting access on their stubble fields.
Tall, undisturbed stubble has been shown to provide multiple wildlife benefits to pheasants, quail and other wildlife from the end of summer through winter. Tall stubble provides additional agricultural and economic benefits by collecting and conserving soil moisture through catching snow, shading the ground and reducing erosion. There also is potential for higher yields of subsequent crops in a crop rotation.
Applications are available at Game and Parks, NRD or Natural Resources Conservation Service offices. Interested producers also may contact the nearest Nebraska Game and Parks Commission representative on this list.
Alma: John Laux, 308-928-2541
Kearney: Justin Haahr, 308-865-5308
North Platte: Adam Kester, 308-535-8025
Chadron: Shelley Steffl, 308-432-6183
Alliance: Matt Steffl, 308-763-2940
The grant award is for $500,000 the first year, with the intent of $500,000 each for the second and third years. Funding for the Trust grants comes from revenue from the Nebraska Lottery.