USDA reminds producers of CRP sign-up deadline

Submitted

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds agricultural producers interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 2020 general sign-up to enroll by Feb. 28. This sign-up is available to farmers and private landowners who are either enrolling for the first time, or re-enrolling for another 10- to 15-year term.

“This is the first opportunity for general sign up since 2016, and we want producers and private landowners to know that we have just one month remaining,” said Richard Fordyce, Farm Service Agency (FSA) administrator. “It is critical that they make their final determinations and submit offers very soon to take advantage of this popular conservation program.”

Farmers and ranchers who enroll in CRP receive yearly rental payments for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”), which can control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands.

CRP has 22 million acres enrolled, but the 2018 Farm Bill lifted the cap to 27 million acres.

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the U.S. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits. Marking its 35th anniversary in 2020, CRP has had many successes, including:

• Preventing more than nine billion tons of soil from eroding, enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks;

• Reducing nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95 and 85 percent, respectively;

• Sequestering an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking nine million cars off the road;

• Creating more than three million acres of restored wetlands while protecting more than 175,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, enough to go around the world seven times;

• Benefiting bees and other pollinators, and increased populations of ducks, pheasants, turkey, bobwhite quail, prairie chickens, grasshopper sparrows and many other birds.

The CRP continuous sign-up is ongoing, which enables producers to enroll for certain practices. FSA plans to open the Soil Health and Income Protection Program, a CRP pilot program, in early 2020, and the 2020 CRP Grasslands sign-up runs from March 16 to May 15.

To enroll in CRP, contact your local FSA county office or visit fsa.usda.gov/crp. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.

The Sabetha Herald1835 Posts

The Sabetha Herald has been serving Sabetha since 1876.

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