|WASHINGTON, D.C. — USDA Secretary Mike Johanns recently announced that starting Jan. 31 USDA began notifying certain agricultural producers with Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts expiring in 2007 that they may extend or re-enroll their contracts.
“Approximately 16 million acres subject to CRP contracts expire in 2007,” said Johanns. “Fulfilling President Bush’s directive to allow eligible farmers and ranchers to re-enroll or extend their CRP contracts helps ensure that the quality of soil, water, air and wildlife benefits of CRP continue across the nation for years to come.”
Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices began notifying certain CRP participants by mail with expiring contracts in 2007 if they are eligible for re-enrollments or two- to five-year extensions.
Participants eligible for re-enrollment will be offered a 10- or 15-year contract provided there are restored wetlands on the original land enrolled in the contract. Fifteen-year contracts expiring Sept. 30, 2007, are not eligible for extension.
FSA used the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) to determine eligibility for CRP re-enrollments or extensions. Additional credit was considered for contracts within national CRP conservation priority areas. The EBI addresses expected benefits to water quality, erosion, enduring benefits, air quality and wildlife habitat.
USDA also announced that a general CRP sign-up will be held this spring. Farmers and ranchers will be able to make offers for CRP’s competitive general sign-up from March 27, 2006, through April 14, 2006, at their local FSA offices. Offers for general sign-up will be evaluated based on five environmental factors (wildlife, water, soil, air and enduring benefits) and cost.
“President Bush stated that he is committed to fully utilizing the 39.2 million-acre enrollment authority under CRP,” said Johanns. “This general sign-up demonstrates the administration’s dedication to maintaining CRP’s wide-ranging environmental benefits.”
CRP is a voluntary program that helps farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers protect their environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolling in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers, with Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) providing rental payments, cost-share and technical assistance.
For more information on CRP, contact your local FSA office or visit the FSA website - www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/crp.htm
This farm news was published in the February 8, 2006 issue of Farm World.