Scattered throughout Redwood County are a number of dedicated pieces of land that have been established as food plots for animals, such as deer and pheasants.

According to Jeff Zajac, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources area wildlife manager, it is because of groups such as Pheasants Forever that those food plots even exist.

The commitment to these food plots was enhanced over this past year, added Zajac, as the Redwood County Pheasants Forever chapter invested funds it received during its annual banquet into this conservation program.

“We have food plots scattered all over Redwood County,” said Zajac, adding those plots planted this past year are now having an impact on the areas wildlife.

The food plot is typically a mix of millet and sorghum, said Zajac, adding that not only attracts pheasants but other species as well.

With some of the plants exceeding seven feet tall during the year, that material now also serves as cover for the wildlife helping them survive the winter months.

“We have food plots that vary in size from three to four acres to 18 acres,” said Zajac. 

Those plots are placed strategically in areas where other wildlife management areas exist to ensure overall success for wildlife.

Zajac said the pheasant population is doing well right now in Redwood County, and it is because of the efforts of Pheasants Forever working in conjunction with other groups and government agencies that population growth is being observed.

While food plots have become a priority for Pheasants Forever, that is not its only long-term investment plan.

According to Bob Wetmore, a local Pheasants Forever chapter member, the program has especially focused its investment of funds and time into the next generation of pheasant enthusiasts.

“I got involved in Pheasants Forever because I saw how much it was investing in programs for kids and families,” said Wetmore, who is helping coordinate the annual banquet.

Through Pheasants Forever, youth are being given the opportunity through their schools, FFA chapters and 4-H to participate in shooting programs that will help to pique their interest in hunting in the future and on investing in programs that enhance wildlife. In the past year alone, contributions to Pheasants Forever in Redwood County helped in the following ways:

• A total of $6,665 to 74 youth from the Morgan, Redwood Falls and Wabasso school shooting sports programs

• An investment in 64 4-Hers in the shooting sports club, including ammunition, clay pigeons, target competitions and travel expenses

• A total of $6,000 was donated for area food plot establishment

The annual Pheasants Forever banquet is being held March 17 starting at 5 p.m. at the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls.

Sponsorships are being requested at this time, with various levels of sponsorship from $1,000 or more to those of $250. In the end every donation makes a difference. Prize donations are also being accepted.

Those interested in learning more about the banquet, how to become a sponsor or how to make a donation are encouraged to contact Ray Sweetman at (507) 626-0422, Jim Thalacker at (507) 530-0554, Mark Tjosaas at (507) 227-5506 or Scott Bernardy at (507) 829-9490.

For decades Pheasants Forever has helped improve habitat. Its efforts in education, awareness and land management are focused on the future of wildlife.