MDC offers money to landowners, farmers for habitat development

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Landowners and farmers can receive incentive payments from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) for developing habitat in areas that are marginal crop ground. The department’s annual idle-land-set-aside program is intended to provide rabbit and quail habitat on drought-prone sandy soils.

According to MDC Private Lands Conservationist (PLC) Brandon Wirsig, this program is just one of many private-land incentive programs MDC hopes landowners will take advantage of.

“By providing incentives to develop habitat for rabbits and quail, the Conservation Department is meeting two goals; enriching local economies and promoting outdoor recreation,” Wirsig said.

Interested landowners or operators should contact their local Private Lands Conservationist to see if their property meets qualifications. Sites must be dominated by sandy soils, must have been cropped for two of the past five years and must also meet cover requirements. Annual contracts are offered with per acre payment rates of $100 or $125, depending upon which program option is taken. Options to renew these annual contracts may be available, depending upon program funding.

For further information on this or other private lands programs, contact your local MDC private lands conservationist. To find local MDC contacts, visit and search by county under "Who's My Local Contact."