(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor. Let’s join Kyle and Robin as they talk about the walk-in hunting areas at the 3i Show.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer. I have the opportunity to visit with Robin Jennison, long time friend. We’re out here in southwest Kansas right now, which is where he is originally from. But Robin you are now the Secretary of Wildlife and Parks for the State of Kansas. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about your walk-in hunting areas because it affects both the city people that are listening as well as the farmers. That program’s been fairly successful. (Robin) Kyle it’s been a great program. We’ve got over a million acres of walk-in hunting which we are second only to South Dakota. South Dakota is up just shy of 1.5 million. Over the last couple of years, to add the walk-in hunting. We’ve got voluntary public access programs, where it’s a little bit different in that we do it as a ten-year contract and it’s a significant payment up front. And really it’s blended very well toward…out in this country where you have a circle and so you can put it on the corners of a circle and that qualifies you to get the major payment. But it doesn’t have to be on a circle and there are other opportunities. But in a state like Kansas where 97 percent of ground is held in private hands for people to have the opportunity to hunt, it’s going to take place on private land. And so that was really the genesis of the walk-in hunting program. That’s what we’re trying to build on and we are second in the nation. And there are people that come to Kansas and hunt that could go to Nebraska, but Nebraska does not have as vibrant of a program as we have and certainly South Dakota’s got a great program. They’ve had a lot of CRP come out, much more than we have. And we’ve heard some concerns up in South Dakota about the potential of their pheasant crop. Of course they’ve gone under the same…they’ve had the same issues over the last four years that we’ve had with the drought. And so, the last four years have not been the greatest pheasant hunting opportunities, but they’re coming back significantly and it’s a great time to really double up our efforts on increasing our program. (Kyle) What do you think the reason we’re seeing those numbers come back? I know up in our area, we’re seeing numbers come back. (Robin) With pheasant it’s totally moisture. With quail that’s part of it. But there has been a quail initiative in Kansas, I’m gonna say for five-six years. It started before I was secretary, so I’m not real sure on the length of time, it’s having some impact. It’s having some great impact. I was just talking to a fellow from Sedan, Kansas, which would have been…is some of the the great quail country in Kansas, and he is seeing more quail than he has seen for 19 years. And I’m hearing the same types of reports in quail country, so I think it’s more than just the rain. There were a lot of fescue grasses planted in quail areas, and we’re seeing a return to native grasses which is being very helpful for the quail. And so it’s habitat. I think this younger generation of farmers has been very willing to try to put that into their farming practices. There are a lot of opportunities to do habitat where it doesn’t cost you in the bottom line on your farming. In fact in some cases, it may improve it. We’ve got people that are in pasture areas that are taking out cedar trees, which is great in those particular areas, it would be prairie chicken. That’s great for the prairie chicken. And it makes them more money. We’ve had people talk about bringing water flow back into the creeks in their pastures by taking out cedar trees, so there’s a lot of things that agriculture can do as it relates to habitat that will pay them. (Kyle) We are visiting with Secretary of Wildlife and Parks, Robin Jennison. This is Kyle Bauer reporting.
(Jamie) Thanks, Kyle. Folks, it’s time to grab a cup of coffee, but don’t go far away – next up is this week’s Kansas Soybean Report.