- Associated Press - Sunday, June 5, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says a jump this year in the federal Conservation Reserve Program will give a boost to the state’s wildlife habitat programs.

More than 76,000 acres in Nebraska were enrolled or re-enrolled in the program earlier this year, making it the first year overall enrollment in Nebraska has increased since 2007. The sign-ups, combined with land already enrolled, bring the state’s total acres enrolled in the program to 773,203.

Alicia Hardin is assistant division administrator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s wildlife division. She says the jump in Conservation Reserve Program enrollment is” welcome news for pheasants, quail and many other grassland species.”

Those enrolled in the program agree to not to farm environmentally sensitive land in exchange for a yearly rental payment.

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