USDA?s Farm Service Agency in Kansas has announced that about 118,416 general signup acres expiring Sept. 30 will be eligible for a three- to five-year extension under the Conserva?tion Reserve Program.
CRP protects millions of acres of American topsoil from erosion and is designed to safeguard the nation?s natural resources.
About 3.9 million CRP acres will expire nationwide Sept. 30, with 100,000 acres under the continuous signup. To stay within the statutory CRP acreage limitation of 32 million acres, USDA will only be able to extend 1.5 million acres nationwide.
Kansas has about 425,120 acres expiring this year. An additional 10,786 acres are expiring from continuous CRP signups.
Acres expiring in the continuous signups will not be offered extensions because they can enroll a new contract in the continuous signup. Participants with acres expiring this year should discuss their options with their local FSA county office.
The options include:
n Three- to five-year extension for general signup acres expiring Sept. 30.
The top 30 percent of the Environmental Benefits Index scores and Erodibility Index of 15 or greater will be for the extension. Total contract years cannot exceed 15.
About 118,416 acres in Kansas, or 27.9 percent of the general signup contracts, are offered extensions.
In Marion County, only two contracts representing 53.7 acres are being offered a five-year extension.
All, or a portion of the acreage, can be offered for extension. No new acreage may be added to the contract.
Participants who meet this criteria will receive a notification letter from the FSA county office after May 15.
Offers must be requested on a CRP-1F Addendum during the signup period of May 18 to June 30. All eligible participants must sign the CRP-1F Addendum agreeing to the extension.
The same soil rental rate on the original contract will apply to the extended contract.
Participants that make an offer of extension on the CRP-1F Addendum may cancel the agreement before Sept. 30 without penalty.
A modified conservation plan of operations will be required.
Participants offering the acreage for extension who perform early land preparation after submitting the offer will void the extension and may be considered to be in violation of the contract.
n Continuous signup acres expiring Sept. 30.
About 10,786 Kansas acres (49 acres in Marion County) enrolled in the continuous CRP signup are expiring this year.
Those participants will receive a letter from the FSA county office.
These acres may be re-enrolled in a continuous signup. Continuous CRP practices include grass planted buffer strips, filter strips, grass waterways and wildlife habitat buffers, which provide important environmental benefits. Continuous CRP signup contracts are 10 to 15 years long and pay an enhanced rental rate.
n General signup acres expiring not eligible forextension.
Expiring acres that were not in the top 30 percent of the EBI scores or a EI of 15 or greater in a general signup are not eligible to offer the contract for extension.
About 306,704 acres in Kansas are not eligible. The majority of Marion County expiring contract acreage (414 acres) are not eligible for contract extension.
Producers will receive a letter from the regional Kansas City FSA center notifying them that the contract will expire Sept. 30.
They may offer the land for re-enrollment under the continuous signup, provided the land meets proper eligibility criteria.
They can leave the land in the conservation cover and try to re-enroll in a later general signup.
They can leave the land in the conservation cover and incorporate the cover as pasture or hayland to utilize the forage.
If they do not want to re-enroll in continuous or a general signup, they may submit a request to the county FSA office to perform early land preparation measures on the acreage, such as approved tillage beginning July 1?only if doing so to prepare a seedbed for fall seeded-crops like wheat or alfalfa.
The chosen fall seeded crop may begin to be seeded beginning Sept. 1.
Remember, producers who conduct early land preparation are not eligible to enroll in a future general signup or in a continuous signup.
Bill Harmon is executive director of the Marion County FSA office.