PIERRE, S.D. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently decided it would offer crop insurance coverage for winter wheat in all South Dakota counties for the 2016 crop. Producers wishing to insure their 2016 crop should sign up before Sept. 30, 2015.
“Producers across South Dakota rely on an effective and affordable crop insurance program to manage risk. RMA’s recent decision to expand crop insurance coverage for winter wheat to all South Dakota counties gives producers an additional tool when making planting decisions. Not only is there economic benefit to producers choosing to plant winter wheat as a crop, winter wheat fields can provide essential habitat for many species in our state,” said Lucas Lentsch, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.
“This is great news for the agriculture and hunting communities. Private landowners serve as the primary stewards of land in South Dakota and have the most influence over habitat conditions for a variety of wildlife populations across our state,” said Kelly Hepler, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. “Since approximately 80 percent of the state’s land base is under private ownership, much of the abundant wildlife habitat we have in South Dakota would not exist were it not for tools, like crop insurance coverage for winter wheat, that make the decision to plant more economically feasible.”
Previously, RMA had offered crop insurance coverage for winter wheat in 47 of 66 counties in South Dakota. In 2014, Gov. Dennis Daugaard formed the Pheasant Habitat Work Group to develop strategies to increase critical habitat for South Dakota’s wildlife population; primarily that of pheasants. Expanding crop insurance coverage to all South Dakota counties was a recommendation made by the group, as winter wheat fields offer important nesting habitat across the state. In response to the work group’s recommendation, a collaborative effort was made by industry, academia and the state, including the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, to petition RMA to expand coverage to all counties, a request RMA recently granted.
The Pheasant Habitat Work Group was made up of 13 members including representatives from the South Dakota Departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks as well as South Dakota State University, legislators and landowners. Their collaborative efforts led to eight recommendations to identify ways to improve habitat compatible with agriculture production across the state. For more information, visit www.gfp.sd.gov/pheasantsummit/.