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Production Journal

October 1, 2010

USDA Accepts 4.3 Million Acres into CRP

Of the 4.8 million acres offered for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) during general sign-up 39 (held Aug. 2 to 27), USDA accepted 4.3 million acres. With 4.459 million acres maturing from the program on Sept. 30, the new enrollments put total acres in CRP at 31.2 million, leaving room for enrollments via continuous CRP and other programs before the 32-million-acre cap on the program is reached.

But don’t take that 4.3 million acres out of the acreage mix for 2011. Why? Of the 4.8 million acres submitted to USDA, 57%—more than 2.7 million acres—were under CRP contracts that expired Sept. 30, 2010, or Sept. 30, 2009. So most of the “new” enrollments weren’t in the crop mix for the 2010 growing season anyway.

Where are the acres? Nearly the same places as before. The top three states for enrollment under sign-up 39 are Texas (858,436 acres), Colo-rado (739,467 acres) and Kansas (618,905 acres). In announcing the results, officials said the program still has not shifted from being very popular in the Great Plains.

USDA selected offers based on an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) of five environmental factors plus cost: wildlife enhancement, water quality, soil erosion, enduring benefits and air quality. The highest possible EBI score was 545. Up to 395 points were given for the five environmental factors and up to 150 for the cost factor. The minimal EBI level for this sign-up was 200, with an average EBI on accepted offers of 280.

While there is no word yet as to whether another general sign-up is in the cards, there are 4.4 million acres set to mature on Sept. 30, 2011, and with USDA’s drive to keep the program filled as close as possible to the 32-million-acre cap, another general sign-up could be seen in 2011.


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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - October 2010



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