Improving quail habitat has a ripple effect which also helps wildlife species living on the land and humans who make a living off the land.

Improving quail habitat has a ripple effect which also helps wildlife species living on the land and humans who make a living off the land.

That’s the reasoning at the core of the work of Missouri Farm Bill biologists, positions which are a collaborative effort of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), Quail Forever, Pheasants Forever, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). These biologists utilize federal, state, and local resources to assist landowners in their assigned counties with habitat improvement projects.

Quail are the high-profile species in these management strategies, but it would be incorrect to describe the work of these biologists as “quail management.” That’s because bobwhite quail is one creature in a rich mosaic of birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians that comprise a grassland ecosystem. Improving quail habitat has benefits for many of these species, too.

Management of grassland species doesn’t only benefit wild creatures that use the landscape. It often helps domestic ones, too. Promoting growth of native warm-season grasses as part of a rotational grazing system provides livestock forage that is higher in nutrition in summer months than cool-season grasses such as fescue.

Missouri’s Farm Bill biologists and contact information include:

Erin Forsythe will work with landowners in Barton, Dade, Jasper, and Lawrence counties. She works out of the USDA's NRCS Office in Carthage. She can be contacted at eforsythe@quailforever.org or 573-881-7593.

Colby Sharp covers Howell, Texas, and Wright counties. He is working out of the USDA Field Office in Houston and can be reached at csharp@quailforever.org or at 318-614-4731.

Rachel Settle covers Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, and Madison counties. She is based at the USDA Service Center (NRCS) in Ste Genevieve and can be reached at rsettle@quailforever.org or 573-701-4624.

Haley Lockard is working with landowners in Clark, Lewis, Knox, and Scotland counties. She is based at the USDA's NRCS office in Kahoka and can be reached at hlockard@quailforever.org or 816-868-7607.