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$8 million in Federal Funds Allocated to “Open Fields”

"Open Fields" funding allows states with existing walk in programs - like Kansas - to improve them, and states without such programs to implement them.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced an additional $8 million is available to create or expand existing public access programs or provide incentives to increase access to hunting and fishing and to improve wildlife habitat on enrolled lands. The funding is being provided through the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP), better known as “Open Fields.”

Last October, 17 state public access programs (i.e. walk in hunting) received grants totaling $11.76 million through Open Fields funding. Secretary Vilsack stated that public access programs in 2011 will receive additional grants totaling $8 million toward the total of $50 million that is available for three years through Open Fields. Many of the grants funded in 2010, the first year of the program’s implementation, were for multiple years and will receive continued funding in 2011.

Our nation’s hunting and fishing traditions are inextricably tied to the health of America’s privately owned farm, ranch and forest lands, and we appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s commitment to American sportsmen and our shared natural resources through his support of continued funding of Open Fields.

The D.C. Minute is written by Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Government Affairs

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