Thanks to this gorgeous summer weather, I have been able to take an enjoyable walk at least three nights a week. When one takes a leisurely stroll, you cannot help but take pleasure in the sights and smells around you.
The black eyed Susan’s (one of my favorite flowers) are in full bloom. The smell of a neighbor grilling supper may tickle your nose. You may notice the care taken by someone on their well-manicured yard. Nothing beats the smell of a freshly mowed alfalfa field.
I think that summer is my favorite season. This week we have news that many producers have been asking for. Yes, we are having a sign-up period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
CRP is a voluntary program that helps agricultural producers use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers who enroll land in the CRP program, plant long-term resource conserving covers to control soil erosion, improve water and air quality, and develop wildlife habitat.
In return, we will provide the participant with a rental payment for 10 or 15 years (the life of the contract whichever is applicable) and cost share assistance to establish the cover on the field.
Sign up for the CRP Program began Aug. 2 and will run through Aug. 27. Land that is not currently enrolled in CRP may be offered for enrollment during the sign up period. Additionally, current CRP contracts that will be expiring Sept. 30 may also submit offers.
Eligible land for the CRP program must be cropland that is planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity four of the six crop years from 2002 to 2007 and must be land that is physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity.
Alfalfa or other multiyear grasses and legumes grown in a rotation not to exceed 12 years may be eligible.
Producers need to contact their local Farm Service Agency if they are interested in this program. The paperwork and determinations may take some time so producers should not wait until the last minute.
Producers who make an offer to enroll their land in the CRP program will have their offers ranked according to the Environmental Benefits Index. FSA collects data for each EBI factor based on the relative environmental benefits from the land offered.
EBI rankings are unique for each tract of land offered into CRP. We have a Fact Sheet available to fully explain the EBI process.
The Secretary of Agriculture will determine the EBI cutoff for the entire nation. Those who have met previous sign-up EBI thresholds are not guaranteed a contract under this sign-up.
Producers may consult with their local FSA or NRCS staff on how to maximize EBI points and increase the likelihood that their offer will be accepted. As mentioned before, the sign-up period for the Conservation Reserve Program Sign Up 39 began Aug. 2 and will end on Aug. 27.
Contact your local Farm Service Agency if you are interested in this program, have any questions or need additional information.