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What’s happening in the outdoors

What’s happening in the outdoors

By: By ROB SOMERVILLE

Some important news, especially for landowners was recently announced by the TWRA. In today’s column, I will fill you in.
Farm bill signup under way: Eligible Tennessee landowners qualify for 50-90 percent costshare funds
Tennessee landowners who want to improve their land may qualify for cost-share assistance from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS has begun sign-up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Eligible applicants can receive 50-percent cost-share funds to help convert their croplands to grasslands; reduce erosion; improve an existing irrigation system; contain waste from animal feeding operations; improve forest habitat; improve water habitat for aquatic at-risk species; or even get rid of invasive plant species such as privet or kudzu. Eligible Limited Resource Farmers may qualify for up to 90-percent in cost-share funds. Program sign-up continues until Nov. 1.
Agricultural producers interested in hay production, livestock grazing and wildlife habitats have an additional incentive to establish native grasses for hay, pasture, or field buffers. An EQIP funding pool appropriately named “Grassland At-Risk Species Habitat Conservation” specifically promotes the establishment and management of native grasses for forage production and wildlife habitat. Producers are eligible for cost-share to establish native grasses as well as additional incentive payments of $75 per acre per year for the first two years they manage the newly planted stand. In addition, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is providing a $55 per acre (one-time) incentive payment for installing and managing native grasses under this specific statewide funding pool.
“Native Warm Season Grasses provide excellent hay and forage and, when properly managed, can provide great wildlife habitat, especially for ground nesting birds like quail,” said Tennessee’s State Conservationist Kevin Brown. “Producers like these grasses because the majority of their growth occurs in the summer when you have optimum hay drying conditions and when forages such as fescue and orchard grass produce very little hay.” Native grasses are extremely drought tolerant, and can withstand long periods of dry weather. Yields of 3-6 tons per acre of native grasses are common after the second year.
To find out more, contact your local NRCS office or the county Soil Conservation District and ask about the EQIP program or go to http://www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov. To learn more about the TWRA, go to http://www.state.tn.us/twra.
Special season drawing completed — results available
The special season deer and turkey drawing has been completed and results are posted on www.tnwildlife.org, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). Successful applicants will receive their permits in the mail.
Applicants can check to see if they were drawn and see a list of vacancy permits by visiting the TWRA web site, look under Check Your Quota Hunt Application Status & Permit Availability.
Leftover permits will go on sale Oct. 29 at 8 a.m. Permits can be obtained at any TWRA license agent or online. Be sure to retain your receipt, as the receipt serves as your permit. No permits will be mailed for leftover permit sales. Hunters are allowed to obtain up to five permits for a single county and no more than 15 permits total.
Replacement hunter education cards available on R.E.A.L.
With hunting seasons underway, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) would like to remind hunters to make sure they have their hunter education cards. Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1969, must possess proof of satisfactory completion of a hunter education class in order to hunt any species in Tennessee.
Those hunters younger than age 10 may hunt without taking the hunter education class, but they must be accompanied by someone at least 21 years of age.
If you’ve lost your hunter education card, you can now get a replacement card from any vendor that sells hunting and fishing licenses. All you need is your TWRA I.D. number on your current license and the agent will give you a printout that shows if you have successfully passed a hunter education course. In a few weeks, a permanent card will be mailed to your current address.
The fee for replacement of hunter education cards is $7.
Published in The Messenger on 10.11.07

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