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Useful Information

For Landowners and Farmers: Missouri "Show Me" State's got Something Good

LAWS PROGRAM: Landowners Assisting Wildlife Survival

LAWS is a proven program designed to provide winter food and cover, and brood rearing habitat during the breeding/nesting season. Landowners and farm operators can participate in this program and receive payment for leaving strips of grain next to good wildlife cover.

LAWS means food and cover throughout the year. Since its inception in 1995, LAWS has provided financial incentives for landowners to leave part of their crops in the field for wildlife through the winter. By leaving at least 10 feet of crops adjacent to wildlife cover, landowners created an enormously productive wildlife food source, as well as valuable edge cover.

Starting last year, LAWS became a two-year program. Qualifying landowners get $150 per acre, per year, for corn, milo, soybeans or sunflowers; or $75 per acre for small-grain crops. The enrolled land can't be harvested, mowed, grazed or chemically treated during the contract period.

A landowner who enrolls two acres of corn Sept. 1, 2001, will receive a $600 payment on May 15, 2002, and will be free to plow the crop under and start over March 15, 2003. During the 18-month term of the contract, wildlife will benefit not only from the food provided by standing corn, but it will have standing cover from weather and predators. Furthermore, the acreage will produce an abundance of the annual plants and insects that birds and mammals need to thrive.

Landowners will have the option of over-seeding enrolled acreage the second year of the contract with lespedeza paid for by the Conservation Department. Each landowner's participation in the LAWS program is limited to $900 per contract period. Land enrolled in other set-aside programs isn't eligible.

To find out about enrolling crops in the LAWS in Missouri, or in your state, contact Steve Spezia, Missouri Department of Conservation, Private Land Services Regional Supervisor. Tel: 636/441-4554 ext.308. Fax: 636/926-9125. Cellular: 314/805-3369. E-mail:

*Permission of Missouri Department of Conservation; Missouri Conservationist, January 2001, Volume 62, Issue 1.

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