USDA Announces Plan to Earmark 750,000 Acres in CRP for Highly Erodible Cropland

February 21, 2012 11:49 PM
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Lands eligible for program are typically lest productive on farm

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

USDA will seek to enroll up to 750,000 acres of the nation's most highly erodible croplands (land with an erodibility index of 20 or greater) by enabling them to plant wildlife-friendly, long-term cover through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

Producers can enroll land on a continuous basis beginning this summer at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office, USDA said, which means there is not a competitive bidding process like there is with the upcoming general signup which starts March 12. With the use of soil survey and geographic information system data, local FSA staff can quickly determine a producer's eligibility for the initiative.

Lands eligible for this program are typically the least productive land on the farm. In many cases the most cost-effective option to reduce erosion is to put the land into a wildlife friendly cover, which will improve habitat and reduce sediment and nutrient runoff and reduce wind erosion, USDA said.

Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this sign-up provided all eligibility requirements are met.

Current CRP participants with eligible land expiring on Sept. 30, 2012, may make new contract offers.

Comments: There are currently 29.7 million acres in CRP, well below the 32 million acre cap spelled out in the 2008 Farm Bill. Of the 29.7 million, 5.2 million were enrolled via continuous CRP signup efforts targeting a host of specific conservation targets and 24.4 million were enrolled under general signups. The next general CRP signup commences March 12. CRP is an area that lawmakers are likely to look at relative to finding spending reductions. The program would have been reduced to 25 million acres via the farm bill effort that House and Senate Ag panel leaders compiled to include in the failed Super Committee effort to find $1.2 trillion in debt reduction. The Obama administration also proposed to reduce the cap to 30 million acres in their Fiscal 2013 budget plan.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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