It seems as though “going green” is all the rage. More and more people are looking for environmentally friendly, sustainable and all natural products. But did you know the Farm Service Agency has been “going green” for many years? Millions of acres of the nation’s natural resources have been improved and preserved through the Conservation Reserve Program and continuous Conservation Reserve Program sign up.
Continuous Conservation Reserve Program is a voluntary program that prevents erosion, increases wildlife, protects groundwater and improves lakes and rivers. In return, participants get payment incentives for establishing and maintaining conservation covers. Interested participants can enroll into the continuous Conservation Reserve Program at any time. Contracts are set up for 10 to 15 years in duration.
There are many practices participants can choose from including: riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers, wetland buffers, filter strips, wetland restoration, grass waterways and shallow water areas for wildlife. However, the land enrolled must be cropland that has been planted to an agricultural commodity in four of the previous six years from 1996 to 2001. Participants must have owned or operated the land for one year prior to enrolling.
Participants are eligible to several incentive programs for enrolling in Conservation Reserve Program. These incentives include:
– Rental payments. When participants enroll land into Conservation Reserve Program, FSA will provide an annual rental payment based on the soil type and average cash rent for the area. There is a maximum payment amount that is calculated in advance of enrollment.
– Cost-share assistance. Participants are eligible to receive no more than 50 percent of the cost to establish the practice.
– Financial incentives. Field windbreaks, grass waterways, filter strips and riparian buffer practices are eligible to receive up to an additional 20 percent of the soil rental rate. Land located within a designated EPA wellhead protection area can receive an additional 10 percent.
– Signing incentive payment. For certain practices, participants can receive up to $100 per acre just for enrolling.
– Practice incentive payment. Other designated practices can receive up to 40 percent of the cost to establish the cover.
To learn more about continuous Conservation Reserve Program sign-up, visit your local FSA office.
That’s all for now,
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