OPINION: Welcome, Pheasants Forever
When we say “pheasants,” you say... “Brookings?”
While we would like to think of the Aberdeen area as ground zero for pheasant hunting, our whole state — yes, even Brookings — has an interest in the sport.
That’s why we were so pleased to learn that the Minnesota-based Pheasants Forever organization will be opening a regional headquarters in Brookings.
Well, our first thought was “Pheasants Forever hasn’t been in South Dakota before?”
The brand name of the group, which promotes habitat conservation, is synonymous with the birds and the sport. Many South Dakotans participate in Pheasants Forever or at least wear the gear with the distinctive Pheasants Forever logo.
Their brick-and-mortar presence in South Dakota is important.
Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever’s vice president of government affairs, will be the point person in Brookings. Nomsen has worked on the Farm Bill for several years and is keenly interested in the Conservation Reserve Program.
Now his ties to South Dakota — which he describes as “the premier destination for pheasant hunting... for 100 years” — are even stronger.
The Pheasants Forever move comes at an interesting time.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s South Dakota Pheasant Habitat Workgroup has been tasked with improving pheasant habitat in ways that are compatible with ag production. The task force was formed in response to declining pheasant numbers in the state. The 2013 numbers showed the pheasant population down by 64 percent from the previous year.
That task force is to make recommendations to Daugaard this summer.
We are pleased that this region is well-represented on both the task force and in Pheasants Forever by Aberdeen’s Tim Kessler, who spoke of the urgency of getting a Pheasants Forever presence in South Dakota.
“The whole process of a regional site here in South Dakota started over a year ago,” Kessler said in a recent story. “It just so happened that the big drop in pheasants last year really put a rush on things to get it done, and the move also seemed to go hand in hand with the new Farm Bill.”
We are surprised to be saying it, but glad to do so: Welcome Pheasants Forever to South Dakota.