For Immediate Release

USDA Secretary Vilsack to Attend National Pheasant Fest in Minneapolis

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Top Ag Leader will Keynote Pheasants Forever’s 30th Anniversary Banquet on Saturday, February 16th

Saint Paul, Minn. - February 06 -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed Secretary Tom Vilsack will attend Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic next weekend in Minneapolis. Secretary Vilsack is slated to deliver the keynote speech at the national non-profit’s 30th anniversary banquet scheduled for Saturday, February 16th at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This will be the third time Secretary Vilsack has attended Pheasant Fest in the last four years.

“We are pleased to have Secretary Vilsack join our event to celebrate our volunteers’ thirty years of habitat accomplishments for wildlife and hunters. We anticipate Saturday’s celebration to be the organization’s largest event in our history,” said Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “We are particularly excited to hear the Secretary’s views on Farm Bill conservation programs and the Conservation Reserve Program in particular. Those federal conservation programs are critical to addressing the massive habitat losses experienced across the country in the last year.”

This will be the third time in the last four years Secretary Vilsack has attended Pheasants Forever’s signature event. During the organization’s Des Moines event in 2010, Secretary Vilsack announced a new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up and reallocation of acres to CRP’s most wildlife-focused practices. A year later in Omaha, Secretary Vilsack announced another CRP genereal sign-up. And in Kansas City last year through a video message, the Secretary unveiled a new CRP practice targeting 750,000 acres of highly erodible lands.

“Obviously, our organization is focused on our nation’s habitat losses from a wildlife and hunting perspective; however, all Americans need to be aware of the crisis occurring on the landscape to our grasslands and wetlands,” explained Nomsen. “Those lost acres of critical habitat hold the future to America’s water quality and soils. We simply cannot tolerate today's short-term economic decision making to prevail over a long-term sustainable agricultural system in harmony with wildlife. We can have pheasants, quail and wildlife forever.”

Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2013

Pheasants Forever was founded in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1982. This year’s National Pheasant Fest celebrates the organization’s thirty years and more than 9 million acres of habitat work. The event is also the country's largest event for upland hunters, sport dog owners and wildlife habitat conservationists, combining a national outdoor tradeshow, wildlife habitat seminar series, and family event complete with puppies, tractors, shotguns, and art. The event is open to the public.

•Pheasant Fest admission for adults is $10 daily, ages 6-16 is $5 daily, and ages 5 & under are FREE.

•To purchase tickets for the Saturday evening 30th Anniversary Banquet where Secretary Vilsack will be the keynote speaker, please call Pheasants Forever toll free at 877.773.2070 or order online. Tickets are $95 each and must be ordered in advance.

•All event details at www.PheasantFest.org

For more information about Pheasants Forever’s conservation priorities, please contact Dave Nomsen at (320) 491-9163 / Email Dave. For media credentials to the Saturday night event and for all other inquiries, please contact Rehan Nana, Public Relations Specialist, at (651) 209-4973 / Email Rehan.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Combined, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.

Rehan Nana (651) 209-2973 or Email Rehan