Ask FSA Andy by FSA Andy– about conservation programs

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Hello Again!

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture began sign up for the Highly Erodible Land Initiative under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) July 23.

The purpose of this initiative is to protect up to 750,000 acres of the nation’s most highly erodible croplands. Producers may enroll at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office.

Enrollment will continue until the 750,000 acre limit has been met. CRP is an important program with more than 25 years of success in protecting the nation’s natural resources through voluntary participation.

This new initiative targets the most fragile cropland, in addition to other targeted initiatives that are currently available under the CRP. CRP is a voluntary program designed to help farmers and landowners protect their environmentally sensitive land.

Currently, 29.6 million acres are enrolled in CRP. Through this Highly Erodible Land Initiative, eligible landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible cropland for a period of 10 years.

Croplands with an Erodibility Index of 20 or greater are eligible for enrollment. In March, Secretary Vilsack announced an increase of 1 million acres of land in a new CRP Initiative to Restore Grasslands, Wetlands and Wildlife.

On June 12, a portion of the 1 million acres available for the initiative were allocated. Initiatives receiving acres are: Wetland Restoration, 200,000 acres; Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds (Quail), 150,000 acres; Duck Nesting Habitat, 150,000 acres; and Pollinator Habitat, 100,000 acres. Sign up for the Pollinator Habitat initiative began June 12 as part of the continuous sign-up criteria.

In 2011, USDA enrolled a record number of acres of private lands in conservation programs, working with more than 500,000 farmers to implement conservation practices that clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and prevent soil erosion.

Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office or visit FSA’s website at www.fsa.usda.gov/crp for additional information regarding CRP.

That’s all for now!

FSA Andy

About the Author

FSA Andy is written by USDA Farm Service Agency county executive directors in northeastern Ohio. More Stories by FSA Andy

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