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Pheasants Forever opening first regional HQ in Brookings

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Pheasants Forever plans to open its first regional headquarters office in July in Brookings.

Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever's longtime vice president of government affairs, will permanently move to South Dakota, becoming the organization's point person in the state.

The move comes as the organization increases its efforts to address habitat losses and land use changes in South Dakota, which have resulted in decline in pheasant numbers.

"South Dakota is the epicenter of pheasants in the United States," said Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever's president and chief executive officer. "Unfortunately, South Dakota is also the epicenter of grassland habitat loss."

According to a 2012 South Dakota State University study, 451,000 acres of South Dakota grasslands were converted to agricultural production from 2006 to 2011. In 2013, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks annual pheasant index showed a 64 percent drop in bird numbers.

Pheasants Forever was formed in St. Paul, Minn., in 1982 and is headquartered in the Twin Cities. While the organization employs field representatives throughout the country, it has never operated a regional headquarters.

"South Dakota's pheasant traditions are at risk because of habitat loss," Nomsen said. "We intend to work with landowners, hunters and our partners to help ensure South Dakota remains the pheasant capital of the world."

The South Dakota Department of Tourism estimates pheasant hunting generates $223 million in retail economic impact annually and an additional $111 million in salaries annually.