News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Valley Life

May 26, 2013

Landowners: Sign up for Conservation Reserve Program

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Indiana is currently conducting Conservation Reserve Program signups for both general and continuous CRP.

The general signup continues through June 14. Signup for continuous CRP will continue through Sept. 30.

“CRP has a 27-year legacy of successfully protecting the nation’s natural resources, while also providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across America,” said Julia A. Wickard, state executive director of FSA.

For general CRP signups, eligible landowners must submit an offer to retire land for a period of 10-15 years and establish a conservation cover such as trees or grasses on the land, competing nationwide against other offers.

Applicants can enhance the possibility of having an offer accepted by taking actions such as offering the most environmentally sensitive land, establishing a longer lasting cover such as native grasses or trees, as well as lowering the annual rental rate per acre on the offer.

Currently in Indiana, 263,776 acres are enrolled in CRP with 37,010 active contracts. A total of 47,539 acres are scheduled to expire Sept. 30. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat.

Wickard encourages producers to look into CRP’s other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis. For Indiana, options include the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement Initiative, the Highly Erodible Land Initiative, the Grassland Restoration Initiative, Pollinator Habitat Initiative and Wellhead Protection.

Indiana CREP is a unique federal/state partnership between USDA and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. Eligible applicants in approved watersheds can enroll environmentally sensitive lands to improve water quality and wildlife habitat. Parts of 65 counties and 10 watersheds in Indiana have lands eligible for enrollment in CREP. Currently there are 8,260 acres enrolled in CREP in these Indiana watersheds.

Indiana is approved for six wildlife priority areas under the SAFE.

These areas include habitat for the Northern Bobwhite Quail, Indiana Bat, Ring-necked Pheasant, American Woodcock, Sedge Wren/Grasshopper Sparrow, and Henslow’s Sparrow. Currently Indiana landowners have offered more than 20,000 acres for enrollment under SAFE.

Those interested in continuous CRP practices can contact the local FSA office for details for eligibility.

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