USDA will be holding a general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup Aug. 2-27, 2010, USDA Undersecretary Jim Miller announced today.
With 4.5 million acres of ground currently under contracts that mature Sept. 30, 2010, USDA is opting to hold the first general signup since 2006, Miller noted. The bids offered by those seeking to enroll acres into CRP will be evaluated using the erodibility index (EI) and environmental benefits index (EBI).
Factors included in the EBI are wildlife habitat, water quality, erosion reduction, ai quality and others.
As for rental rates for what is being called general signup 39, USDA officials said they don't have "any anticipation" what rental rates will be. Under the current program, the average rental rate on ground enrolled via a general signup is around $50 per acre, and officials said that they "hope" rental rates reflect the current rate structure which has risen in recent years.
Currently, USDA Washington is working with states to set those rental rates in place, officials said.
Under the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress reduced the maximum number of acres that can be enrolled in CRP to 32 million, down from 39.2 million previously. Currently, there are around 31.3 million acres in CRP.
USDA expects the combination of those maturities this fall, ground enrolled via the general signup and under the continuous signup process will maintain around 32 million acres in the program.