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More than 3.4 Million Acres Added to CRP
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on March 26 that it had accepted more than 3.4 million acres into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) during the first general enrollment period since 2016. The CRP program pays private landowners a rental payment to plant grasses and trees that help with soil erosion, improve water quality, and provide wildlife habitat on crop lands. The most competitive offers that will protect the most fragile and sensitive lands, enhance soil productivity, sequester carbon in the soil, provide pollinator and other wildlife habitat, and reduce soil erosion to improve water quality are selected through the enrollment process.
“The Conservation Reserve Program is one of our nation’s largest conservation endeavors and is critical in helping producers better manage their operations while conserving valuable natural resources,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “The program marked its 35th anniversary this year, and we were quite pleased to see one of our largest signups in many years.”
This general signup included the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program that directs targeted resources to high-priority state wildlife conservation efforts. More than 95 percent of the SAFE offers were accepted and will impact 487,500 acres.
Signups for continuous CRP, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, CRP Grasslands and the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP) are ongoing. The CRP Grasslands deadline is May 15, and the signup for the SHIPP pilot program (available to the Prairie Pothole region states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota) began on March 30, 2020, and ends August 21, 2020.