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Star Trib Article 1/12/03


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I thought this article was interesting - looks like Dennis Anderson of the Star Trib is on a mission to stress his importance to Pheasants Forever in light of its 20th Anniversary this year. He starts off humbly in the first section, but then it goes on to be a collection of his achievements in masterminding Pheasants Forever and ultimately, being a key originator of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). I certainly may be ignorant in regards to PF's history, but I have always heard/read about Norb Berg and Jeff Finden being the key founders. Obviously, if credit is due, then it should be granted. The overall feel of this article, however, seemed to be quite prideful to me - a "toot-your-own-horn" session...what do you guys think?

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Ya, I agree.
Correct me if I'm wrong in saying this,
but if he's so high and mighty, maybe instead of stroking himself like this he should get off his duff and try to organize a plan to get more than 3% of the MN farmers in on the CRP.
FRom what i gather from reading his article, this program has been in exsistents for about 20 years, the statistics aren't very good.
Its obvious that its been known for years that the pops. are decreasing because of no cover, why wasn't there something done about it,.
O.K. so there was little, why not try harder.

Correct ,me if I'm wrong again, but why not duplicate what ND is doing, theres tons of plots land over there, maybe alot of the circumstances are different in MN than in ND to make it worth to the farmers in MN, these are things I would like to understand,


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I think hes kind of a blowhard!

I farm in westcentral mn home of the ringneck. We have several acres into crp and the pheasants have flurished,need a good balance of cropland as well to feed them. Some of our land is due for renewel and the state says it no longer qualifies for the program. As far as the farmers bottom line as he states is just that at the bottom, countless acres of farmland has been lost to urban sprawl raising the price of an acre to over $2000. 160 acres x 2000
$320,000 for pheasants.

I love to pheasant hunt probably even more than fish but it is not all the fault of the farmer. When you see houses being built on the edges of towns remember that was once farmland, and for the farmer he has to find ground to farm in other places such as crp ground that the state wont allow farmers to recieve payments on.

I know I am whining a little but I am suck between rock and a hard place need to live but love to hunt

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Your not whining at all, this makes sense to me.
These are things i would like to learn more about MN and why its, if it is, so different from ND.
i didn't know that they wont allow the farmers to get paid on this, Dont the ND farmers get paid?

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I am no longer involved in PF because although the mission is a good one, the organization is not very organized, and our chapter had a lot of trouble with the national office.

Blaze, I gotta get an e-mail to you.... Sorry

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Saw this thread and had to post. My first time in here. I like reading about the outdoors. I have always read the Trib outdoors at work during lunch. I dont hunt Pheasants anymore since all the land I hunted down by New Prague has been developed. I have to say I have seen Dennis Anderson write so many Pheasant articles in the last three months, I was almost going to e-mail him to tell him about the 10,000 lakes in this state incase he forgot. Know i see why. I wont read his articles anymore.

651-271-5459 http://fishingminnesota.com/millelacsguide/
click here

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Tryhard - good to see you're still alive! I was starting to worry... smile.gif I look forward to hearing from ya.

D-Man - I agree, seems not much of what Anderson writes these days is worth taking the time to read. I usually love to flip the Sunday paper straight to the back page of the sports section, but I've been greatly disappointed the last few months. Guess I kinda look at the Trib Outdoors section like I see Rush Limbaugh - 10% truth, 90% entertainment and crap. shocked.gif HAH!

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Someone asked about the differences between MN and ND. I have hunted both states a lot in the last couple of years and here is my opinion (in order of importance):
1) Weather. ND has a couple of weeks less winter in the fall. That is not the big one though. They have spring a couple of weeks earlier as well. Their springs are drier than ours. Many people think that winters are the keys to pheasants, and although it is important and once in awhile can be really hard on the birds, the really important season is spring. Pheasants have an unbelievable ability to reproduce GIVEN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES, which are warm, relatively dry springs and:
2) Grassy habitat. MN does not have the grassland habitat that ND does. ND (and SD) tend to have bigger blocks of grassland. I believe biologists say 30% of the land surface should be grasslands for optimal pheasant production. MN is way below that. The good areas of the Dakotas approach 30%.
3) Farming practices. MN is all about fall plowing. ND has a lot of harvested fields that are not plowed in the fall. MN farmers are just plain maximizing their farms for crop production. There are very few brushy fencerows, grassy swales, etc. ND is not quite as efficient.
4) I am not as sure about this one, but from my personal experiences, it seems that MN has more fox and ND has more coyotes. Fox love roos and target them. They clean them out in their relatively small home ranges. Coyotes, although they wont pass up and easy meal of pheasant, target wabbits and mice. Their home range is bigger. Their was a study in SD awhile back I believe that showed that pheasants did better in coyote prevalent areas than in fox prevalent areas.

So, to tie this in with the CRP topic. It is vitally important to get more grasslands to help our pheasants reproduce. We are going to lose our share of birds in our nasty winters, that is a given, it is the spring where we need the birds to reproduce better to significantly help our overall population of birds.

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I've felt this way about all these guys, Dennis Anderson, Ron Schara, Bud Grant, etc. It's easy for them to say they do such great things when everything they do is free or they are compensated threefold. Why did Dennis Anderson part with Pheasants Forever? Probably because they wouldn't pay him enough to keep going. All these guys are about $$$$$$$. Why would they care if there are Pheasants in Minnesota when they can take a free trip to North or South Dakota, write an article and benefit themselves. All these organizations are becoming corrupt. FF, DU, etc. I say, support your local sportsmens clubs. Atleast we know our money is not going to pay some guys salary sitting in St. Paul and hasn't seen a slough for 10 years. Just keep the money rolling in. I wonder what amount of the $100,000 raised at Pheasant Fest will actually be seen by our Pheasants. Probably a couple cobs of corn. On the other hand, probably not as our DNR doesn't think feeding pheasants does any good. Just had to vent when I saw this post.

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Another one I am wondering about is this Critical Habitat deal,
You know the critical hab License plates,
deer, now one with a Loon.
I have donated the $25 per year for about 3-4 years now, the first year they use to send you information about how your money was spent, but after that first year, I haven't seen a thing, so I haven't the foggiest were my money is going.
I think they should get one with a pheasant and have the donations go for the purpose only, anything that will help bring em back.

[This message has been edited by Dano2 (edited 01-15-2003).]

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I think that you guys are a little hard on Dennis Anderson and Pheasants Forever. DA is passionate about the outdoors, he writes articles that tell it like it is, that if Minnesotans don't start putting more effort and money into environmental projects, we won't have clean lakes to enjoy or land to hunt on. It would be interesting to hear why he had a split with PF but his article was just spelling out the facts of PF's start, from a person that was there.

As far as PF goes, the organization isn't perfect, but everytime that they take the banquet money and buy land or plant trees, its creating pheasant habitat. Without PF and similar organizations, that land would be farmland or homesites. Anybody that spends any amount of time out in farmland in the fall sees the draglines and dozers at work. We can all point out the former hunting spot that is now farmland. PF helps keep some of that. Is PF perfect? No. Is it top heavy with executives? Maybe. I was on the board of a PF chapter south of Rochester, they always whined about the money from the banquet that went to the national, 300 members x $20 each was a lot of money, they thought it would be better spent locally. I always pushed the fact that that money paid for lobbists in Washington, so CRP could be kept/expanded. 40 million acres of CRP nationally is lot better than 6 more acres of land locally. That chapter has now left PF and keeps that money. Pennywise and pound foolish, in my opinion.

Back to DAnderson, PF, and columists. I got myself in trouble with the local PF chapter when they had Ron Schara out as a speaker and I told him "that he was no longer Ron Schara, outdoor hero and guru, he was Ron, $1100 a night Schara" (they paid him that to speak). He took offense, but I was appalled that he was getting paid that much, while I had worked on banquet committes and did the late night work and phone calls - just for the hope of seeing more pheasants in the future. The great Tony Dean also got pissed at me when I asked him via email if he was getting paid for speaking at a PF banquet. These guys are making a living off the land and water and using their position, as someone else stated, to get cushy hunting and fishing trips, the least they could do is be an advocate. Dennis Anderson IS an advocate for the enviroment.

wcmnwalleye guy, its good to hear of a farmer that hunts and fishes. What is the answer to keeping more land in habitat and not under the plow?

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Funding for the CRP and CREP programs the last I heard with the budget crunch they were short on funding meaning cutting back on acres. We were on the right track for a while everyone was putting in some acres even some of the old farmers who would have never done before. The difference between us and ND is people per acre and there is no big cities sprawling out into the farmland.

Some numbers to ponder

ND lands produce
30 bu beans x $5 = $150 per acre
50 bu wheat x $3 = $150 per acre

MN lands produce
50 bu beans x $5 = $250 per acre
150 bu corn x $2 = $300 per acre

CPR payments on ave are $120 an acre
ND farmers lose only $30 but could make that up with some of there marginal lands that dont produce as well or some of there pasture land. On the other hand MN farmers would lose $130-180 an acre on lets just say 200 acres that would be a loss of up to $36000 meaning the kids go hungry.

There is land that will work with this program and there are farmers willing but if they ask and get turned down they will not hesitate to put there marginal land into production. Like I said earlier its not all the farmers fault land is dwindling due to more people.
This is important to me so keep the questons coming if you have more.

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Does anyone know why Dennis Anderson left PF?

Oh and I lost respect for Ron Schara a few years ago. I was in high school and worked at a banquet hall. They would have big, DU, PF, TU, NWTF banquets there. Ron Schara was the guest speaker at a few of those events. Most of the time he would get p*ss drunk then go up and attempt to speak. It was quite pathatic actaully.

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Did you use gross or net in your math? How much does it cost to produce that crop? Shouldn't you use net? $5/$2 is gross price, correct?

Flash, you are absolutely incorrect about PF. In PF ALL of the money raised at the local level stays local. It is like a local sportsmans club in that respect. The membership fees are sent to St. Paul and are used in a variety of ways. Habitat teams that actually put in and enhance habitat, lobbyists that were already mentioned, regional biologists that are there for chapter support, and a million types of aid to the chapter. PF is the MOST proficient nonprofit org out there at 92% of every dollar goes into programs (and this is kinda funny, the last I saw on PETA was about 65%). Are they perfect? no, but neither are local sportsmans clubs.

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WCMNWALLEYE, you make it sound awful discouraging. In this time of budget cutting and deficits, you won't see CRP rents go up over $200 and acre. The small plots that PF is able to buy are nice but in the overall scheme of things, its the thousands of acres of land that can be setaside throughout the pheasant range by good, wildlife friendly farm programs that will make the biggest difference in pheasant populations. We all need to vote for legislatures that are enviromentally friendly vrs for big business.
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Dont know much about the politics,
but keep us tuned in, I would like to get in on anything I possibly could, to tryen help make some kind of difference

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I like to call Minnesota the HAY CAPITAL of the USA!!! Pretty hard for a poor old pheasant to find ANY cover when the farmers whack every piece of grass around. I've never hunted SD but I would venture to quess that you could go to the most rural place in this state and you would not find anything close to the road hunting they offer. Thats my dollars worth.

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  • 1 year later...

I completely agree with the farmer from W. Minnesota. I farm in Southern Minnesota, and it's pretty tough. But I also agree with everyone when they say Ron Schara is a puke. Last year he wrote an article about Heron Lake once being the best duck hunting lake in the nation (true fact by the way). He blames it's demise on farmers. I happen to know one of the states premier biologists who did a study on how tile drainage into ditches and then into lakes affects the quality of lakes. He was hired by the tree huggers to prove that farmers were damaging the lakes. It turns out, the water in the ditches from field tile actually helped to DILUTE the pollution from the runoff of lawn fertilizers, septic systems etc. It's helping to lessen the detrimental effects that rural urbanization and lakeshore development is having on our area lakes.
Ron Schara...next time you want to hunt pheasant, oh and eat anything in your cupboards, go to another country to get your food. I'm tired of your self proclaimed expertise.
Adam Knewtson

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