|CRP sign up deadline is Friday |
|Posted: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 8:00 am |
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week reminded landowners, farmers and ranchers that the opportunity to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up 43 ends on Friday. Producers who want to offer eligible land for CRP’s competitive general sign-up may enroll at the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office where their farm records are maintained.
CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. 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. Producers with expiring contracts and producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP.
Currently, about 30 million acres are enrolled in CRP.
CRP continues to make major contributions to national efforts to improve water and air quality, prevent soil erosion by protecting the most sensitive areas including those prone to flash flooding and runoff.
At the same time, CRP has helped increase populations of pheasants, quail, ducks, and other rare species, like the sage grouse, the lesser prairie chicken, and others. Highlights of CRP include:
• CRP has restored more than two million acres of wetlands and two million acres of riparian buffers;
• Each year, CRP keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100 million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into the nation’s streams, rivers and lakes.
• CRP provides $1.8 billion annually to landowners – dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs; and
• CRP is the largest private lands carbon sequestration program in the country. By placing vulnerable cropland into conservation, CRP sequesters carbon in plants and soil, and reduces both fuel and fertilizer usage. In 2010, CRP resulted in carbon sequestration equal to taking almost 10 million cars off the road.
Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA service center or visit FSA’s website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/crp for additional information regarding CRP.