Using cover crops as an agricultural practice has been shown to improve soil health, water quality and reduce costly inputs needed to raise corn and beans. What is not fully understood is how cover crops in a farmed wetland environment can improve nesting conditions for grassland bird species. A Ducks Unlimited major sponsor who is a Nebraska native is helping DU do the research to answer that question.

In partnership with South Dakota State University and South Dakota Game Fish and Parks, DU secured public funding to initiate the study. While attending a S.D. DU Major Donor pheasant hunt this past year, Diamond Heritage Sponsor Steve Raymond heard about the need for a private gift so that DU could fully utilize the public research grants. The Connecticut donor stepped forward to provide the needed private match, following discussions with Director of Development Terry Kostinec of South Dakota.

The study began in May, and Steve came back to South Dakota to take a tour of the test areas. He worked with DUs manager of conservation programs for South Dakota, Steve Donovan, to locate active bird nests in the field.

I am encouraged by the early results of the cover crop study Steve Raymond said. I appreciated the opportunity to help DU pursue new programs that not only promote soil health but also provide ducks and pheasants a place to nest in farmland.