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USDA awards GF&P $1.5 million grant

WASHINGTON —The United States Department of Agriculture has awarded South Dakota's Department of Game, Fish and Parks a $1.5 million grant.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday that the USDA will partner with nine State agencies and with the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation to increase recreational and economic opportunities on private lands.

Funding is provided through USDA's Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, authorized by the 2014 farm bill. The Natural Resources Conservation Service administers the program.

USDA says GF&P will use the grant to increase public access to private lands in the southeastern portion of the state for hunting and recreational activities, as well as improve wildlife habitat.

Iowa and Montana's wildlife agencies also received grants.

The $20 million in grants will be used to improve wildlife habitat and public access to private lands while spurring new economic opportunities for rural businesses.