A Conservation Reserve Program signup has been established for March 14 through April 15 at all local county FSA offices. This is the second consecutive year that USDA has offered a general CRP enrollment signup.
?Financial incentive available through CRP affords farmers and ranchers a low risk opportunity to implement a variety of conservation practices that will benefit the environment in a number of ways,? said Adrian J. Polansky, executive director of USDA?s Farm Service Agency in Kansas.
?Over the past 25 years, CRP practices have improved water and air quality, increased wildlife habitat and prevented soil erosion.?
Landowners enrolled in the CRP program receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland.
Land that is not currently enrolled in CRP can be offered during sign-up if all eligibility requirements are met.
CRP participants with contracts expiring this fall can make new contract offers during the signup period. These expiring contract producers were recently notified by a special letter explaining to them CRP reoffering opportunities.
Contracts awarded during this general signup will become effective Oct. 1.
CRP is authorized a maximum enrollment of 32 million acres. Nationwide, 30,859,317 acres are currently enrolled on 730,547 contracts with an estimated 5,040,883 acres scheduled to expire this fall.
Marion County currently has 15,511 acres enrolled on 688 contracts with 5,388 acres expiring Sept. 30.
All CRP offers are evaluated and ranked using an environmental benefits index formula that indicates the environmental benefits of enrolling land in CRP.
There are five environmental factors that make up the EBI that relate to wildlife, water, soil, air and cost influences.
Decisions will be made following the end of the signup period and after analyzing EBI data on all nationwide submitted offers.
To help producers understand the upcoming CRP signup process, a public producer informational meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, March 10, at Marion City Hall to discuss the program?s policies and provisions and answer any concerns or questions producers may have.
The meeting will begin at 1 p.m.
Bill Harmon is executive director of the Marion County FSA office.