John Smythe, State Executive Director for USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) in California announced that over the next few weeks, FSA will begin issuing $4,678,601 in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) payments to eligible state producers. Nationwide, more than $1.7 billion in CRP payments are being made by FSA on 34.7 million acres across the country.
"FSA's Conservation Reserve Program is an effective tool for farmers and ranchers to carry out many good stewardship practices that enhance or protect our state's natural resources," says Smythe. The program works cooperatively with producers to conserve soil, waterways, wildlife, wildfowl and air quality."
The payments are annual rental payments earned on California's 132,836 acres enrolled in fiscal year 2008 in the CRP, including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and Continuous Sign-Up Program. California producers holding 537 contracts on 417 farms will receive an average of $11,219 per farm or $35.22 per acre. The number of contracts is higher than the number of farms because producers may have multiple contracts on a single farm.
Other CRP payments are made throughout the year, including a 50% reimbursement of expenses for establishing cover and incentive payments for enrolling eligible conservation practices, such as wetland restorations and conservation buffers. CRP contracts commitments are for 10 to 15 years.
Land to be enrolled must be either highly erodible, contribute to a serious water quality problem, provide important wildlife habitat or provide substantial environmental benefits if devoted to certain specific conservation uses. To find the nearest FSA office, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/ca.