Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Madysen McLain
Gazette Reporter 

CRP re-enrollment open to farmers, ranchers

 

July 4, 2019



The Conservation Reserve Program will conduct re-enrollment signups for farmers and ranchers who already have contracts until August 23. Signups have been available since June 3.

The CRP program, signed into law in 1985, works with farmers and ranchers to conserve, “environmentally sensitive agricultural land,” according to the USDA website. Program participants must grow approved plant species to control, “soil erosion, improve the water quality and enhance wildlife habitat.”

In exchange for a yearly payment, farmers refrain from farming certain pieces of land and remove certain plant species in hopes of improving environmental health.

Some of the practices eligible for the program are wetland restoration, shallow water area for wildlife, duck nesting habitats and more. The full list can be viewed on their website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.

Payment for farmers is based on per acre cropland and rental rates are determined by the FSA. According to the FSA website, the maximum payment rate for continuous signup is $300 per acre.

Cost-share assistance is up to 50 percent of installing the FSA practice.

Contracts between farmers and the Farm Service Agency last from 10 to 15 years. Those interested in signing up for the first time can do so on the USDA Farm Service Agency website.

The program also works closely with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, state forestry agencies, conservation districts and other non-federal providers.

To be eligible to signup, farmers must have owned or operated the land for at least 12 months prior to applying. However, there are some exceptions, like if the land is acquired due to an owner's death and the ownership change happened due to foreclosure.

Land eligible for the program must have had crops during four of six crop year ranging from 2012 to 2017. The land also must be legally capable of being planted.

The FSA halted applications in the fall of 2018 when the Farm Bill expired, but since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the program is up and running. A general signup will start in December 2019 and a grasslands signup will follow.

 
 

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