New South Dakota program focuses on developing habitat

A new state of South Dakota program is trying to increase the number of acres set aside for wildlife habitat.

Those acres have dropped off a lot as of late and it could create some money troubles for the state.

Drew Peterson is a third generation farmer and rancher near Salem. "My whole life i've had conservation as part of the farm that i've grown up on."

Setting aside land to improve habitat and help wildlife is something Drew expects to do.
But not everyone finds the idea of taking money producing land out of commision an appealing proposition.

"We're really listening to their concerns or areas of interest so that we can continue to make improvements upon this effort." South Dakota Ag Secretary Lucas Lentsch is trying to ease those concerns and make finding set aside options easier through a program called "Habitat Pays", which is anchored by this new web site that farmers and ranchers can use to find conservation programs. Some of which pay producers to set aside land. "Without agriculture at the table and having tools and availability and resources it's pretty tough to talk about habitat and habitat development in South Dakota."

"Its really allowed us to improve on what we have been doing." In Salem, Drew Peterson is working with a program that is paying him to set aside land as a shelterbelt. They're even paying for the trees and planting them.

The "Habitat Pays" web site can be found by going to