Friday, May 17, 2013

Time to Sign Up for the Conservation Reserve Program

News from the USDA:

Sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program will take place from May 20 to June 14 this year, said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Vilsack also announced the restart of sign-up for the continuous Conservation Reserve Program, including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, State Acres for ildlife Enhancement Initiative, the Highly Erodible Land Initiative, the Grassland Restoration Initiative, the Pollinator Habitat Initiative and other related initiatives.

Sign-up for continuous CRP began May 13 and continue through Sept. 30.

The Conservation Reserve Program has a 27-year history of successfully protecting the nation's natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat.

In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance.

Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. Currently, 27 million acres are enrolled in CRP through 700,000 contracts on 390,000 farms throughout the U.S., with enrollment in 49 states and Puerto Rico. Contracts on an estimated 3.3 million acres will expire Sept. 30.

Offers for general sign-up CRP contracts are ranked according to an Environmental Benefits Index. USDA's Farm Service Agency collects data for each of the EBI factors based on the relative environmental benefits for the land offered. FSA uses the following factors to assess the environmental benefits for the land offered:

** Wildlife habitat benefits resulting from covers on contract acreage; Wildlife habitat benefits resulting from covers on contract acreage;

** Water quality benefits from reduced erosion, runoff and leaching;

** On-farm benefits from reduced erosion;

** Benefits that will likely endure beyond the contract period;

** Air quality benefits from reduced wind erosion; and

** Cost.

Go to to learn more about the Conservation Reserve Program or any other Farm Service Agency programs.

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