FAQ: On September 30, 2012 Conservation Reserve Program contracts on a lot of land nationwide are set to expire. Owners will have to decide whether or not to re-enroll the land in CRP. As an owner, I'm wondering about land preparation for expiring CRP contracts. What is allowed by USDA and what isn't?
Answer: USDA earlier this year announced it will accept more acres into the Conservation Reserve Program. The program pays landowners for taking environmentally sensitive land out of crop production and seeding that land to grass or planting trees. CRP contracts are 10 to 15 years in length.
On September 30, 2012 CRP contracts on about 6.5 million acres of land nationwide are scheduled to expire, with about 231,672 of those acres in Iowa. Landowners have to decide whether or not to re-enroll the land in CRP. There are a number of questions being raised by owners regarding land preparation for expiring CRP contracts.
USDA's Farm Service Agency handles this program. Beth Grabau, public information and outreach specialist with the Iowa FSA office in Des Moines, answers the following questions. She is assisted by Vicki Friedow, program specialist with Iowa FSA. For answers to specific questions or more information on maintenance and management of CRP acres, contact your local FSA office. You can also go online to www.fsa.usda.gov.
Question: A recent general Conservation Reserve Program sign up has producers with acreage that was scheduled to expire on September 30, 2012, now making the decision as to whether or not they should re-enroll these acres. With either choice—to enroll or not to enroll--what are the participant's options to prepare
Answer: Options to begin to prepare land are available for both of these decisions, but with limitations.
For those producers who did re-offer expiring CRP acreage, in most cases, an enhanced seeding is needed. To complete this management practice, removing some of the existing cover will be required. The date the program participant chooses to remove this material will determine what action will need to be taken.