Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reminds landowners, farmers and ranchers that the opportunity to enroll in the current Conservation Reserve Program general sign-up ends on Friday, April 15, 2011. Producers who want to offer eligible land for CRP's competitive general sign-up may enroll at the Farm Service Agency county office where their farm records are maintained. CRP is a voluntary program that assists farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers to protect their environmentally sensitive land.
"CRP enjoys strong backing from farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor sports enthusiasts," said Vilsack. "For 25 years CRP has improved water and air quality, preserved habitat for wildlife, and prevented soil erosion. I urge any eligible landowner to visit their county office to learn more about this program."
Through CRP, eligible landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland. Land can be enrolled for a period of up to 15 years.
During the general signup period land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered provided all eligibility requirements are met. Additionally, current CRP participants with contracts expiring this fall may make new contract offers. Contracts awarded under this signup are scheduled to become effective Oct. 1, 2011. The general sign-up for CRP will not affect cropped acres for this growing season. Acres will be enrolled in the program in the fall.
CRP also has a continuous sign-up program that is ongoing. Continuous acres represent the most environmentally desirable and sensitive land.
In addition to the general and continuous signups, the 2008 Farm Bill authorized for the transition of expiring CRP land from a retired or retiring owner or operator to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher to return land to production for sustainable grazing or crop production under the TIP program. The Transition Incentive Program provides annual rental payments for up to two additional years after the date of the expiration of the CRP contract, provided the transition is not to a family member.
Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office or visit FSA's Web site atwww.fsa.usda.gov/crp for additional information regarding CRP.