Local farmers should sign up by July 23 for Conservation Reserve Program

 

Press release submitted 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in Indiana is reminding producers and landowners that the signup deadline for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is July 23.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency has made several changes to the Conservation Reserve Program to make it more advantageous to all producers, including those who are experiencing financial difficulties, beginning farmers and veterans. FSA added incentives to encourage producers to include climate-smart agricultural practices in their operations to increase natural resource and environmental benefits.

USDA’s goal is to enroll up to 4 million new CRP acres by raising payment rates and expanding the incentives offered under the program. CRP is capped at 25 million acres for fiscal year 2021 and currently 20.7 million acres are enrolled, but the cap will gradually increase to 27 million acres by fiscal year 2023. To help increase producer interest and enrollment, FSA has:

  adjusted soil rental rates. This enables additional flexibility for rate adjustments, including a possible increase in rates where appropriate. 

  increased payments for Practice Incentives from 20% to 50%. This incentive for continuous CRP practices is based on the cost of establishment and is in addition to cost share payments.

increased payments for water quality practices. Incentive increased from 10% to 20% for certain water quality practices available through the CRP continuous signup, such as grassed waterways, riparian buffers and filter strips. 

Additionally, to mitigate climate change, FSA introduced a new annual Climate-Smart Practice Incentive for the general, grasslands and continuous signups that aims to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate-Smart CRP practices include establishing trees and permanent grasses, developing wildlife habitat, and restoring wetlands. The Climate-Smart Practice Incentive amount is based on the benefits of each practice type.

CRP is one of the world’s largest voluntary conservation programs with a long track record of preserving topsoil, improving water quality, sequestering carbon, reducing nitrogen runoff and preserving healthy wildlife habitat. Its program successes include:

  • creating more than 3 million acres of restored wetlands, while protecting more than 175,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, which is enough to go around the world seven times.
  • benefiting bees and other pollinators and increasing populations of ducks, pheasants, turkeys, bobwhite quail, prairie chickens, grasshopper sparrows, and many other birds.

Interested producers should contact their local USDA Service CenterTo find their local FSA county office, producers may visit farmers.gov/service-center-locator.

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