CRP enrollment will open in May

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will conduct a four-week general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program, beginning May 20 and ending June 14. Additional sign-ups for programs such as Highly Erodible Land Initiative and Initiative to Restore Grasslands, Wetlands, and Wildlife will be announced in spring.

CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term resource-conserving cover plants and receive an annual rent payment for the length of the contract, 10 to 15 years.

CRP has a 27-year legacy of protecting the nation’s natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States.

“Since the 1980s, the CRP program has established itself as a benchmark in voluntary conservation efforts, providing American producers with assets to address our most critical resource issues,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Feb. 16 at the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic in Minneapolis.

“Last year, during one of the worst droughts in generations, the CRP proved vital in protecting our most environmentally sensitive lands from erosion,” he said. “Emergency haying and grazing on CRP lands also supplied critical feed and forage for livestock producers due to the drought. And the program continues to bring substantial returns in rural areas, attracting recreation and tourism dollars into local economies while sustaining natural and wildlife habitat for future generations.”

Currently about 27 million acres are enrolled in CRP.

For more information on CRP or other Farm Service Agency programs, visit a local FSA office or http://www.fsa.usda.gov.

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