ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BILL HARMON
The Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP) sign-up period No. 23 began Oct. 1, 2000, and continues through Sept. 30 and allows farmers to enroll small acreages of highly environmentally sensitive land in a 10- to 15-year federal conservation payment program without competitive restrictions.
Provided certain eligibility standards are met, offered acreage is automatically accepted into the program at a per-acre rental rate not to exceed an established maximum payment level.
The Kansas State Farm Service Agency Committee determined maintenance rate of $5 per acre is added to the annual CCRP rental rate for all approved contracts.
Cost-share payments are made to help producers install and establish approved CCRP conservation practices.
CCRP practices include filter strips, riparian buffers, shelter belts, field windbreaks, grass waterways, contour grass strips and shallow water areas for wildlife.
Landowners must have owned the acreage for at least one year and operators must have leased acres for at least one year to be eligible to apply.
Land eligible for enrollment includes crop land capable of being cropped in a normal manner, and that has been planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity in any two years from 1992 to 1996.
A new sign-up incentive payment (SIP) has been added to enhance the program for some practices. A SIP is computed as $10 times the number of eligible acres times the number of years in the CCRP contract.
Field windbreaks, waterways, shelter belts, living snow fences, filter strips and riparian buffers are eligible for SIP.
Also, a one-time practice incentive payment (PIP) is allowable for all CCRP practices that is based on 80 percent of paid cost shares and paid when the practice is completely installed.
In Kansas, more than 28,000 acres are in CCRP. Marion County has 47 outstanding CCRP contracts covering 293.4 acres. Producers are receiving an average rental rate of $49.83 per acre.
Since no general CRP sign-up is scheduled for 2001, producers interested in addressing their special conservation needs should consider enrolling in this continuing program.
As a reminder to those producers with CRP acreage, the wildlife nesting period is in effect until July 15. During the nesting period, no wildlife-disturbing activity can be taking place on CRP.
Bill Harmon is the executive director of the Farm Service Agency office in Marion County.