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USDA begins conservation program sign-ups

Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Joe L. Ashby, Lincoln County executive director, would like to remind farmers and ranchers that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is conducting a four-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up through June 14.

Ashby also announced the restart of sign-up for continuous CRP, including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, State Acres for Wildlife 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 on May 13 and will continue through Sept. 30, 2013.

“As always, we expect strong competition to enroll acres into CRP, and we urge interested producers to maximize their environmental benefits and to make cost-effective offers,” said Ashby. 

CRP is an important program for protecting environmentally sensitive lands from erosion and sedimentation and for ensuring the sustainability of our groundwater, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams.

Producers are also encouraged to look into CRP’s other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis.

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 on Sept. 30, 2013. Enrollment authority for all types of CRP, which had expired Sept. 30, 2012, was extended through 2013 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

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

For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit the local FSA service center or www.fsa.usda.gov.