February 20, 2013
On February 16 at the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will conduct a four-week general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), beginning May 20 and ending on June 14. This announcement marks the 45th General sign up in CRP’s 27 year history.
Under a CRP general sign-up, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) collects and ranks offers from farmers to enroll highly erodible and environmentally sensitive land in the program. The land is taken out of production and long-term, resource conserving cover vegetation is established to control soil erosion, improve water and air quality, and enhance wildlife habitat. Producers who are accepted into the program during the sign-up can receive cost-share assistance to plant long-term, resource-conserving covers and receive an annual rental payment for the length of the contract (10-15 years).
Another option for producers is to enroll conservation buffers and other portions of their fields in the continuous sign-up CRP (CCRP) to reduce run-off and provide habitat. Producers can enroll through CCRP at any time. Additional sign-ups for continuous CRP initiatives such as the Highly Erodible Land Initiative and Initiative to Restore Grasslands, Wetlands and Wildlife will be announced in Spring 2013.
As of late January 2013 there were 27.06 million acres enrolled in the CRP, including 3.88 million acres in targeted partial field enrollments through CCRP and 1.27 million acres through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). USDA reports that contracts on 3.3 million acres of CRP are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2013.
Visit NSAC’s Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill to read more about the CRP, continuous CRP, and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment