A new window has opened for signup for the Conservation Reserve Program(CRP). USDA will resume allowing continuous CRP signups from June 4 - August 17.
According to USDA, producers with contracts that will mature September 30 and have a contract term of 14 years or less will also be able to enroll for a one-year extension during the same signup period. However, producers with contracts that would breach the 15-year limit with a one-year extension are not eligible.
Still, if a producer falls into that category they can “offer ground” for continuous sign up, but USDA makes no guarantee all offers will be accepted.
According to Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer, USDA has not allowed continuous signups under CRP so far in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 as it sought to keep CRP acres under the cap of 24 million acres.
Limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment, including grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others, USDA says.
According to USDA, the limited practice availability and short signup period will help "ensure that landowners with the most sensitive acreage will enroll in the program and avoid unintended competition with new and beginning farmers seeking leases."
Current CRP enrollment is about 22.7 million acres. USDA has not published the level of acres in the CRP since September 2017 when there were 23.43 million acres in the program.
There were 2.51 million acres scheduled to expire as of Sept. 30 while the FY 2017 continuous signup resulted in 1.185 million acres to be enrolled in the program with contracts to start Oct. 1, 2017, Wiesemeyer says.
The CRP program has long been accused of inflating land prices. USDA plans to combat that with updated soil rental rates for annual rental payments and will not issue any incentive payments.